How do child support guidelines work?

How do child support guid…
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Maryland child support guidelines are formula calculations applied by the court to determine the amount of child support paid between parents when the parents’ combined income is $15,000 or less per month.

Note that this is a before-tax calculation; the child support formula considers each parent’s monthly income before taxes and before almost all other deductions, and ignores most, but not all, specific recurrent expenses of the children. However, the calculation will make adjustments for child support paid for the benefit of children from other relationships, alimony paid between parents, and alimony paid to a former spouse.

Although most deductions are not considered in calculating guidelines child support, the calculations do include consideration for regular costs for work-related childcare, insurance premiums for the children's medical, dental, or vision care, as well as regular prescription costs.

Additionally, certain educational expenses and travel-related expenses associated for parenting time may be considered, if the parents have shared or joint physical custody. In this situation, the calculation of child support also considers the annual number of overnights a child spends in each parent’s home.

Maryland law recognizes that there are ordinary costs incurred by virtue of having a child within the home and the support calculations already take into account the average costs of housing, food, utilities, clothing as well as some other incidental expenses. In the case of shared or joint physical custody, the guidelines assume that each parent is contributing to a child's day-to-day expenses like clothing and school supplies above and beyond the amount of support also paid from one parent to another—thus these amounts do not need to be known in order to calculate the child support payment.

However, when addressing the issue of child support, be warned that the child support calculations do NOT take into account a child's extracurricular activities which include items like: sports, dance, music, summer camps (unless required so a parent can work) or equipment related thereto. The amount of child support paid to a parent also does not include costs for “extraordinary medical expenses” as defined by Maryland law. And most importantly, child support is always modifiable by a court of law.