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Supporting a Child in Maryland

Five years ago, a couple divorced because of the husband’s failure to contribute to the family’s expenses. The judge in the divorce proceeding ordered the father to pay child support for the three children he and his ex-wife shared. The mother wants her children to have a relationship with their father, even though he isn’t making the child support payments, and allows the children to visit him at his mother’s house. Recently, the mother learned that the father finished dental school and operates a successful practice, likely earning more than $250,000 per year. A family law attorney can assist a parent such as this mother with obtaining the child support owed and seek a modification of a current order because of reasons like the father’s increased income.

Assessing the parent’s ability to pay

Because situations change, the amount of child support owed by a noncustodial parent may be adjusted to reflect a parent’s current financial status. As provided in Maryland Code, Family Law § 12-201, a person’s actual income includes the following:

  • Salaries
  • Wages
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Dividend income
  • Pension income
  • Interest income
  • Trust income
  • Annuity income
  • Social Security benefits
  • Unemployment insurance benefits
  • Disability insurance benefits
  • Alimony or maintenance received

In addition, the court may also consider severance pay, capital gains, gifts and prizes as actual income. Under the Maryland Code, Family Law § 12-204, a parent may calculate child support obligations based upon adjusted actual income, which is computed by subtracting the following from actual income:

  • Pre-existing child support obligations actually paid
  • Alimony or maintenance obligations actually paid
  • The actual cost of providing health insurance coverage for the child

A family law attorney experienced with the intricacies of child support law can aid clients who wish to pursue a modification of present child support orders because of the other parent’s change in financial status. Seeking a modification of a child support order is a complex process. A lawyer from Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A. in La Plata can translate the statutory language and aid clients throughout the process. The firm represents clients throughout southern Maryland. 

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