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Is Child Support Awarded in Every Family Law Case Involving a Child?

The Law Office Phillips & Allen PA Nov. 20, 2022

It is awarded in the vast majority of cases. There are instances where one parent is disadvantaged whether it is a mental or physical disability that it is not realistic to try to get them to pay for anything. But that is more of the exception than the rule. If you have a shared custody situation, child support is generally based on the guidelines. What they look at is the parental income. If one parent is making a lot more money than the other, even if they have fifty-fifty, that parent that makes more money is going to have to pay something. Now, it is not going to be as much as if the parent that made a lot of money did not have custody but they are still going to end up paying something.

If A Parent Has Full Custody Of A Child, Do They Automatically Receive Child Support?

None of it is automatic. A petition for child support has to be filed and then the case gets litigated, it is a civil suit. The first issue that arises is are these the parents? In the modern world, they do genetic testing now across the board to establish who the dad is and who the mom is. Once that is established, assuming one of the parents is not disabled or completely unable to pay, then they are going to set child support under the guidelines unless there are extenuating circumstances.

The Calculation Of Child Support In Maryland

The first thing they look at is the physical custody. Is the child with both parents roughly the same amount of time?If that is the case, then it is shared custody. If the child is with one parent the vast majority of the time, then it is sole custody. In sole custody, they take the income of the custodial parent and the income of the non-custodial parent.They add them together, apply that to the guidelines and then they look at the percentage of the income that the non-custodial parent makes and then from the guidelines and the equation, it generates a number. In a shared custody situation, it is the similar analysis only the way that the equation works, is it takes some of the stings out of it for the parent that makes more money.

What Is Retroactive Child Support?

It is really not retroactive child support. Child support starts at the time of the filing of the petition. What ends up happening is it usually takes several months for the case to go to trial. The case goes to trial, they set a figure for child support and then there are a few months owed. What they usually do is they take whatever the monthly child support is, they add twenty-five percent of that to the monthly payment and the person paying has to pay that additional money until the arrearage for those back months gets paid.

Is There Any Recourse For Non-Payment Of Child Support?

The first step is filing a contempt with the court. It is not the kind of thing you do if someone owes a small amount and they are behind. But if it starts to get into being a few months behind and you start getting into some larger amounts, then it is time to file contempt. Then it goes in front of the judge and the judge will file them in contempt. They will often award attorney’s fees to the person who is supposed to be getting the child support payment and not so much the first time, but if you are in there for the second or third contempt, they can put people in jail and hold them until they purge the amount of money they owe. We so often say we do not have debtor prison anymore but when it comes to child support, we do.

Can A Parent Ever Refuse Visitation If Child Support Is Behind?

No. Child support does not control visitation at all. It is absolutely irrelevant when it comes to visitation.

Does Maryland Have Legal Separation? Can You File For Child Support If You Are Just Separated?

First of all, this term legal separation gets tossed around and there really is no such a thing. They do not file something if you are separated. If you are married, once you get grounds for limited divorce or an absolute divorce, you can file at that time. Limited divorces really do not have a lot of teeth or they are often pled but rarely used. Once you are living apart, absolutely, you can file child support then and that is all it takes is living separate and apart.

For more information on Child Support In Maryland, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking talk Arnold F. Phillips by calling today.