Representing Families in Their Time of Need
Child Support is an important issue in every family law and divorce case in which the child custody and child visitation are issues. By law, it is the duty of each parent to provide creature comforts for their children. This is accomplished by an award of money paid on a specific schedule from one parent to the other.
Child support is governed by statute which is a law passed by the legislature. Child support is based on two main considerations, namely, each parent’s gross monthly income and the number of overnight visits during the course of a year that the children spend with each parent.
The Family Law Article defines what is income. In addition to a parent's salary, the court may include other forms of income such as commissions, bonuses, dividend income, pension income, interest income, trust income, Social Security benefits, workers compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, alimony and employment expense reimbursements that reduce that parent's personal living expenses.
In most cases, this is easily determined since most parents are wage earners who receive a W-2 form in January of each year that will show the gross annual income for the previous year.
In addition, most parents will also receive a 1099 form that will show the miscellaneous income as interest from checking or savings accounts or dividend income from investments.
In other cases, a parent who is a business owner will file a Schedule C with his or her federal income tax return. This will show the gross income from the business, minus the cost of earning the gross income.
Once each parent’s gross monthly income is determined, the percentage that each parent’s gross monthly income bears to their combined gross monthly income will be made. This will be an important component in the calculation of each parent’s obligation to support his or her children.
The court will consider any pre-existing order for the payment of child support for a child from a prior relationship, the cost of health insurance that is attributable to the child or children, any extraordinary medical expenses, and the cost of private school education if there is a history of the child or children attending private school.
Also at issue is the number of overnights that each child or children spends with each parent. If a child spends more than 35% of the overnights in each year with a parent, then the shared custody guidelines would apply.
For more information about child support or family law, please feel free to contact us. E. David Silverberg also offers free consultations to discuss your family litigation cases. Our law offices are located in Towson, Maryland in Baltimore County.
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