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How Maryland’s New Guidelines Affect Child Support

Lerch Early & Brewer's Legal Update

New Maryland child support guidelines increase child support amounts and provide guidelines for parents who earn a combined income of more than $120,000 per year and up to $180,000 per year. Child support in Maryland is based on statutory guidelines that, until now, have not been adjusted in more than 20 years. Maryland enacted new child support guidelines effective for cases filed after October 1, 2010.

The new child support guidelines have two primary effects. First, the new guidelines increase the amount of child support across most income levels. Second, they calculate child support for parents who make substantially more than was calculated under the old guidelines.

Under the former child support guidelines, a figure was calculated for parents with a combined adjusted actual income of up to $10,000 per month, and it was within the Court’s discretion to determine the level of child support when parents earned more than said amount. The new guidelines calculate a child support award for parents who earn up to a combined adjusted actual income of $15,000 per month. The Court has discretion in determining the level of child support when parents earn a combined adjusted actual income of over $15,000 per month.

Courts are using discretion whether to apply the new child support guidelines to cases filed prior to October 1, 2010.

For cases filed after October 1, 2010, the new child support guidelines will be used to establish initial child support orders, both pendente lite (pending trial) and permanently, as well as to establish the level of child support in cases involving modifications of existing child support orders.

Existing child support orders can be modified based only on a material change of circumstances. Courts have found a material change of circumstances in numerous instances, including but not limited to loss of a job, medical issues, retirement, education issues, changes in the needs of the child, etc. However, the adoption of the new child support guidelines is not, in and of itself, a material change of circumstances for purposes of modification of child support. If you have minor children, adult destitute or adult disabled children, you should consult a family law attorney about how the new guidelines may affect child support.

Erin Kopelman, an attorney in the firm’s Family Law group, helps people with minor children and adult disabled children with child support issues. To discuss how the new guidelines may affect your child support, contact Erin at elkopelman@lerchearly.com or 301-347-1261.

This content is for your information only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney before acting on any information contained here.

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