Opening a child support case in court can be beneficial in ensuring both parents continue to provide adequate care for the children after a divorce or breakup.

Maryland provides guideline worksheets for single parents applying for primary physical custody as well as two parents applying for shared physical custody. These worksheets include a calculator to enter all pertinent information required to calculate your estimated child support payments. You will need to enter these items into these sheets:

  • Monthly gross income, including Social Security benefits, workers’ comp and bonuses but not including public assistance program income
  • Other child support or alimony payments, which are then subtracted from your income
  • The number of overnights the children spend with each parent
  • Expenses each parent pays, including childcare, child health insurance, medical expenses if higher than average and any other relevant child expenses

Shared and joint custody

If you are applying for shared custody and you calculate that the children spend less than 35% of their time (127 overnights per year) with you or the other parent, you will use the primary physical custody sheet instead, as shared custody will not apply. The noncustodial parent, in this case, will give monthly payments to the custodial parent.

The court will generally use the numbers calculated in these worksheets, unless someone can prove that the final amounts are not in the best interest of the children and need modification. If the combined income of both parents is greater than $15,000, the court may not use the calculated numbers and instead will base the determined support requirements on the needs of the children.

The future of your children

Having the ability to spend as much time with your children while knowing their financial future will continue to be reliable is important for their own stability, especially in the event of a divorce. A fair custody and child support agreement can help ensure your children get the care they need.