Montgomery County Child Support Attorney
In Maryland, both parents have a legal duty to support their children and meet their basic needs. During marriages or committed relationships, the issue of child support is not often a concern for family courts. However, when one parent no longer lives in the family home with their children, the courts are often required to make decisions about how much a non-custodial parent must pay.
While Maryland has specific child support guidelines, child support issues can be complex and contentious. To find out more about child support and get the support you need for your child, you should speak with an experienced child support attorney. Our Maryland family law attorney at Shah & Kishore can help you get the support that your child deserves.
Why Choose Shah & Kishore?
- Shah & Kishore is a family law practice serving clients in Montgomery County, Maryland.
- While we are experienced and aggressive at family law litigation, we pursue an amicable resolution first, which can be faster, less expensive, and less stressful than litigation.
- Our success rate has been extremely good. Our clients are extremely happy with our ability to resolve cases without going to litigation.
- We believe in compassionate advocacy. Our partner, Mr. Kishore, is a trained mediator and is able to handle high conflict family disputes.
If you are looking for a Maryland child support attorney who will listen and deliver results in a cost-effective and efficient manner, call Shah & Kishore at (301) 315-0001 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Child Support?
Child support is a payment made by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to support the expenses related to raising a child. Medical expenses, child care expenses, school and transportation expenses, and any special needs of the child can add up quickly.
Both parents are expected to cover those expenses, whether they are together or not.
How Is Child Support Determined?
In Maryland, the court generally uses specific guidelines to calculate child support. These guidelines include looking at the following factors:
- Both parent’s “actual monthly income,” which includes salary or wages, as well as additional types of income, benefits, or bonuses. It does not, however, include temporary forms of financial assistance.
- Both parent’s “adjusted actual income,” which is the actual income minus any already existing child support and alimony paid
- Work-related child care expenses, which include any costs for the child’s care while the parent is working, such as daycare costs
- Health insurance expenses and extraordinary medical expenses. Extraordinary medical expenses include reasonable expenses that insurance doesn’t cover, such as physical therapy or dental treatment.
The court may also require additional information to calculate the amount of child support. An attorney can give you a better understanding of the factors involved and how they apply to you.
What are the Penalties for Non-Payment of Child Support?
Child support orders are enforceable court orders. As such, they carry a range of criminal and civil penalties. In Maryland, willful failure to pay child support is a crime punishable by up to thirty-six months in prison and $100 in fines.
Similarly, deserting a minor child may result in the offender spending up to twelve months in prison and paying $100 in fines. Desertion is when the offender, typically a parent:
1) Intends for the child to become a public charge supported by the state; or
2) Fails to provide at least three years of child support by a licensed child care facility or a responsible individual.
In addition to the above, a Maryland court may order:
- Child support be paid over a thirty-six month period;
- Child support be paid following a valid agreement; or
- The offender be placed on probation subject to a recorded child support obligation.
The court may order that payments be made to the legal custodian of the minor child or another recipient as designated by a valid agreement. Any court-ordered payments are considered a lien on the offender’s earnings and must be deducted by the offender’s employer.
The offender’s employer must send payroll deductions to the designated child support enforcement agency.
What is Voluntary Impoverishment?
Maryland defines voluntary impoverishment as the free and conscious choice, not compelled by factors beyond the parent’s control, to render the parent without adequate resources. A voluntarily impoverished parent chooses not to meet their income potential and maintains a lesser standard of living than necessary.
The court may impose a higher monthly income on a voluntarily impoverished parent due to their earning potential. When making such a determination, the court considers the parent’s:
- Physical and behavioral conditions;
- Level of education;
- Special training or job skills;
- Employment and earnings history;
- Employment records;
- Criminal record; and
- Any other relevant facts.
The court will also take note of the job market, average income, and available positions in the parent’s community.
Can the Court Refuse to Order Child Support?
The court has the power to decline or refuse a child support order under certain circumstances. This typically occurs when the paying parent lives with the minor child and contributes to that child’s support.
Other occasions in which the court may decline child support are when the payor:
- Has no financial resources;
- Is and will be incarcerated for the entirety of the child’s minor life;
- Is and will be institutionalized in a psychiatric facility for the whole of the child’s minor life;
- Is totally and permanently disabled, is unable to obtain or maintain employment, and has no income other than Supplemental Security Income or Social Security disability insurance benefits; or
- Is unable to obtain or maintain employment in the foreseeable future due to compliance with criminal detainment, hospitalization, or a rehabilitation treatment plan.
If you have concerns about the court’s power to refuse support, speak with an experienced Maryland child support attorney.
Why Do You Need a Child Support Lawyer?
The process for securing child support can get very complex. From locating the other parent to establishing parentage, setting up an order and enforcing payment, or modifying an order, you will need the skills and expertise of a child support lawyer who understands the technicalities of child support law in Maryland.
Significant changes were made to Maryland’s child support laws on July 1, 2022. These laws affect parents who pay and receive child support in the state. The experienced child support lawyer at Shah & Kishore will help you understand how these new laws apply to your situation and ensure that your and your child’s rights remain well-represented and protected.
Your case may require the assistance of other professionals to establish certain facts in support of your case. For example, in cases of voluntary impoverishment where one parent chooses to be unemployed or underemployed to reduce their child support payments, your attorney can help you establish that parent’s potential income.
The experienced child support lawyer at Shah & Kishore will help you understand the factors that apply to your situation and ensure that your and your child’s rights are well-represented and protected.
Contact a Maryland Child Support Lawyer at Shah & Kishore
If you need to speak with a Maryland child support lawyer, call us at (301) 315-0001. Your initial consultation is free; contact us online to schedule it.