The legal obligations to make child support payment obligations can be confusing under both the divorce laws of Maryland and the District of Columbia. The divorce laws in both jurisdictions are similar, but there are some nuanced differences. If you have questions about child support payments, call the Maryland/DC divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl. Our numbers are (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about child support payments in Maryland/DC divorces.
Who pays and how is child support calculated?
Both Maryland and DC use a statutory formula to decide how much child support must be paid based on the combined income of both parents. Then, Maryland and DC also divide the TOTAL child support obligation between the parents based on their percentage of the total income. Assume that both parents make $3,000 a month. In that case, they will each be 50% responsible for the total child support payment obligation. The parent will custody will receive child support payments and the other payment will send payment.
How much will the child support obligations be?
Both jurisdictions use a mathematical formula to determine child support. The Maryland online calculator can be found here.
It is simple to use. Taking the above example (with any deductions or adjustments to income), assuming both parents earn $3,000 a month and have two kids, that is a combined income of $6,000 a month. That results in a TOTAL child support obligation of $1,477. Because the parents’ incomes are equal, then the non-custodial parent would pay $738.50 per month. If the combined income is $10,000 a month, then the TOTAL child support would be $1,881.
The numbers are similar for the District of Columbia. See DC calculator here. The DC calculator is a bit more complicated since it uses ANNUAL income. But, you can convert the annual numbers into monthly numbers by dividing by 12. So, using the same examples, parents with $3,000 of monthly income each with two kids would have a total obligation of $16,804 per year (which is $1,400 per month). Having 50% of the total income, the non-custodial parent would pay $700.00 per month. If the combined income was $10,000 a month, then the TOTAL monthly child support would be $2,098 (or $1,049 for the non-custodial parent).
Can parents agree to different amounts of child support?
Yes and no. In Maryland/DC, “no,” parents cannot agree to LESS child support. However, parents CAN agree that child support payments would be HIGHER than the statutory guidelines.
If the paying parent does not pay, can visitation be cut off?
No. Both child support and visitation rights are governed by the divorce court’s order. Typically, visitation rights are not connected to the obligation to pay child support. Both parents are obligated to obey the court’s order.
How long before child support payments begin?
This depends. Often, divorce courts will order child support payments to begin DURING the divorce proceedings. In those cases, child support payments will continue once the final divorce decree is entered. If a wage garnishment is ordered (so that payments will come directly from the employer), those generally take a couple of months to take effect.
Maryland and DC Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
For more information, contact the seasoned and experienced Maryland and DC divorce, family law and estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl. We have the experience and expertise you need. We also have proven experience with divorce and 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.