Not as easy as you would think
If you are facing a divorce or child custody case, we understand child support is likely to be one of your primary worries.
Whether are you are planning to be the custodial parent, or the one paying child support, you’re probably extremely interested in how much that child support payment will be.
Unfortunately, there is no truly good way to calculate child support obligations without consulting an attorney. We are not just saying that to drum up business.
Figuring out child support can be very complicated. And it is not just a math problem. There are a lot of legal questions that have to get answered before you even begin plugging in numbers.
For Estimating Only
You can find child support calculators online, and we will direct you to one that works in Maryland (see below), but you have to take them with a grain of salt. Child support includes a lot of variables. It is not as easy as it appears on some of these online calculators on other websites.
Just remember that any number given by an online child support calculator is an estimate. To get accurate numbers you really should contact a divorce attorney for a consultation. So many legal questions have to be answered first before you know what numbers to use. For more on this, see our Free Legal Consumer Guide on Child Custody and Child Support by clicking here.
The courts endorse a specific software tool to figure out child support calculations. This software tool is not widely available and not very user friendly. It is not online. It is expensive to buy. Any reputable Maryland divorce attorney will have that software at their disposal. It is available at most courthouses, but it is not very easy to use and you still must know the answers to the legal questions first.
The Only Online System That Works (mostly)
With all of that said, here is an online child support calculator from the Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration. This is the governmental department that administers child support in the state of Maryland.
When you use that online system, they will force you to acknowledge that their online tool is merely for informational purposes. After you do that, you will be presented with a screen allowing you to enter details about your finances. That screen looks fairly complicated – and it is. As we said earlier, there is no easy way to calculate child support in Maryland. It is a bit of a complicated process.
Why is this so difficult?
One of the limitations of this and most online calculators is that it does not properly adjust for different custody designations. Your child support payment will be dramatically different depending on whether you have shared physical custody, primary physical custody, or joint physical custody. To find out what those custody designations mean, see our Free Legal Consumer Guide to Child Custody.
Figuring out your income is another problem. What is your gross income? What do you do with overtime? What if you work for tips? How often do you get paid? Do you really know the other parent’s income? The answers to these questions will dramatically affect your child support calculation. If you are not certain of the answers, it is going to be hard to estimate child support.
Other issues that can be hard to nail down include health insurance premiums, day care costs, and extraordinary medical costs. These must be factored into the calculation, and it can be hard to determine exactly how to treat them.
One more problem in calculating child support is that the statute only goes up to $15,000 per month for both incomes. If you and your spouse make more than that amount, you must resort to old school amortization tables.
Anyone can easily see that calculating child support is a complicated legal issue. It is not a simple math problem. For that reason, we strongly recommend you obtain an in-person consultation with an attorney if you need to figure out what your child support payments will be.
Discover what you need to know about divorce in Maryland. Click here to see our Free Legal Consumer Guide on Divorce and get answer to your questions today.
And also find out what you need to know about child custody in Maryland by clicking here for our Free Legal Consumer Guide to child custody in Maryland.
Know your options. Be informed. Protect yourself.