Child support for parents whose joint annual incomes (including income from nearly all sources for each of them) are less than $120,000 per year, is determined by a chart set out in a Maryland statute which can be found at Annotated Code of Maryland, Family Law Section 12-204. Software is available online which incorporates the chart which calculates the amount of support payable by one parent to the other. It is advisable to have an attorney utilize either the software or and/or determine for a parent what the support figure may be based on an analysis of the statute itself. In the event the parents incomes exceed $120,000 per year, child support is determined based upon the parties’ incomes, the actual expenses incurred on behalf of a child and those which are in the child’s best interests or history.
If the parties agree, they can use software which is available to extrapolate the amount of child support when the parties earn over $120,000 per year. An attorney should be consulted in order to evaluate a case in an effort to determine what the amount of child support may be based on the particular set of facts. A concept know as “shared custody” exists only when used in the context of child support and NOT physical custody. Shared custody exists when one parent has a child with him/her for at least 35% of the overnights each year. In that situation, child support payable by one spouse to an other decreases substantially. It is not uncommon for a parent to seek 35% or more of the overnights in order to reduce their child support obligation to the other parent. Frequently, a parent considering this tactic overlooks the fact that actually having a child reside with them is oftentimes a great deal more expensive than their child support obligation would be without shared custody.