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How do courts address child support if one parent is unemployed?

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | Divorce |

Even if spouses are no longer together, their parental responsibility toward their children continues. Accordingly, courts require parents to pay child support, the amount of which is based on the applicable state guidelines. These guidelines allow for a fair calculation of child support.

In Maryland, courts compute each parent’s child support obligations based on the combined actual adjusted income of both parents. However, concerns about fairness may arise if one parent is unemployed at the time of support determination. How do courts address this situation?

When having inadequate resources is beyond one’s control

In Maryland, courts can decline to establish a support order for several reasons, one is when a parent is unemployed and has inadequate resources to pay support obligations.

When there is voluntary impoverishment

Courts can still push through with their support calculation even when a parent is unemployed if they find that parent purposefully not making money to avoid obligations. Courts can still apply the child support guidelines but use the unemployed parent’s potential income as a basis for calculation instead of actual income.

When guidelines do not apply

Under Maryland laws, the amount of child support from the calculation using the guidelines is deemed the correct amount of support to be awarded. However, if there is evidence that applying the guidelines to calculate support would be unjust and inappropriate, the court must depart from using said guidelines.

Actively protect your rights

Child support determination is complex and can be overwhelming for anyone who do not have any background knowledge on it. Nevertheless, taking the necessary measures will protect your rights. Using resources to acquire sufficient knowledge and working with a competent legal representative can help ensure you get a fair calculation of child support.