6 Facts To Know About Child Support In Maryland and D.C.

Three siblings, portrait

If you are seeking a divorce in Maryland or the District of Columbia and there are minor children, there are a few basic facts you should know. You will likely benefit from having experienced Maryland and D.C. divorce attorneys providing advice and counsel. Call us here at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl for a risk-free consultation. We are here for you and ready to help. In the remainder of this article, we discuss six facts that you should know about child support.

Child support is related to child custody. Child support is the payments provided by the parents to support their minor children until they reach their majority.

In both Maryland and D.C., child support is calculated based on a statutory formula.

Both Maryland and D.C. have statutes that provide the formula by which child support is calculated. The variables include:

  • The total income of the parents
  • The number of children involved and
  • Each parent’s percentage of the total income

The total child support obligation is calculated from the first two factors. The amount to be “paid” by each parent is then determined from the third factor. The amount of child support will be determined by the Maryland/D.C. divorce court. Beyond the basic child support described above, the divorce court generally orders other forms of child support, such as child support for health care insurance, schooling, daycare, etc.

Nothing else factors into the formula. Thus, for example, if one parent remarries, child support payments do not get recalculated to include income from the new spouse.

Child support is the obligation of both parents

As noted, both parents have an obligation to pay child support. The custodial parent “pays” his or her child support by spending monies on housing, food, clothing, transportation, etc. The non-custodial parent “pays” his or her child support by sending a check or other form of payment to the custodial parent.

There is no choice; child support is mandatory

Under the laws of Maryland and D.C., paying child support is mandatory. There is no manner in which the parents can agree to avoid child support.

Child support can be modified if there is a change in circumstances

Child support obligations are not “set in stone.” As time progresses, either parent can ask the Maryland/D.C. divorce court to modify the child support payments. Generally, this is done with a written request. The request must be supported by documents and must demonstrate that there has been a “substantial and material change in circumstances” that justifies a recalculation of the child support and a modification of the court’s Order. A common example of a “substantial and material” change is the loss of a job or substantial income by one parent or the other.

Child support can be retroactive — up to two years in D.C. and much less in Maryland

A D.C. divorce court can order child support payments retroactively. See D.C. Code § 16-916.01(v), (v)(1). Generally, the most that can be ordered is child support for two years prior to the filing of the divorce and request for child support. In rare circumstances, the court could order retroactive payments exceeding two years.

In Maryland, retroactive child support payments can only be ordered to the date of the filing of the divorce. M.D. Code, Family Law, § 12-101.

Maryland And D.C. Family Law Attorneys

Contact the seasoned and experienced Maryland and D.C. family law lawyers at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl for more information. We have the skills and expertise you need. We have proven experience with family law for Maryland and the District of Columbia. Schedule a consultation today or call us at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280. We have offices in Columbia, MD, and Washington, DC.

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