In every case that involves children, there will be a child support component. Child support can be calculated in a very formulaic manner using the Maryland Child Support Guidelines if the parents qualify based upon their combined gross income ($15,000.00 per month). The child support guidelines take into consideration a limited amount of information from the parties, including, gross income and child-related costs such as daycare and health insurance. This information must be verified in a number of ways to ensure that the child or children’s basic needs are being met. Of course, the time-sharing arrangement between the parties is also a factor considered by the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Notwithstanding the child support guidelines, there are circumstances that dictate an upward or downward deviation from the recommended child support obligation under the guidelines. In these instances, it is incredibly important to have an attorney experienced and familiar with the circumstances justifying deviation from the guidelines, and the ability to present the case properly to the court if litigation on the issue is needed.
When the combined gross income of the parents exceed $15,000.00 per month, the court is not required to consider the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Instead, the court looks to the actual needs of the child or children to ensure that those needs are met consistent with the parents’ time-sharing arrangement and respective incomes. In high-income family law cases that involve child support, it is critical to have a skilled negotiator and/or litigator to ensure that the correct amount of child support is being paid based upon actual evidence of actual needs. So while in some cases, the easiest thing may be to extrapolate the child support guidelines to arrive at a child support figure and obligation, this can often lead to an inequitable result. The ability to analyze the evidence as it pertains to income and children’s needs is critical.