In the beginning stages of divorce, it helps to have a handle on some of the issues that have the highest potential for fighting. Unfortunately, child-related issues are often at the top of this list.
Understanding how the state calculates child support is crucial to get through this potentially contentious issue. Breaking it down into steps may help bring clarity to a stressful situation.
The shared income model
Maryland subscribes to a shared income model for calculating child support. In this, the parents’ combined income helps the court come up with a figure for how much each should pay for supporting their children. It also gives a ratio based on who makes more money. Typically, the parent who makes more pays more. The exception occurs if that parent has more overnights than the other.
The shared custody model
Shared custody means that each parent has the children for at least 35% of the time. When calculating support using this model, the cost of living for both parents increase since the children are with them both a substantial amount of time. In a shared custody arrangement, one parent may still owe the other support if there is a great disparity in income or time spent with the children.
Calculating child support is only one element of divorce that may drive tensions high. Creating custody and parenting time plans may also place a strain on the process. Getting some basic insight into how a Maryland judge may decide these issues assists with facilitating a compromise between the parties.