Custody and Child Support

Custody and Child Support

The issue of custodial rights is emotional and highly charged for both parents and adolescents. A family lawyer is necessary to assist families to move towards a rational and practical outcome, focusing primarily on the best interests of the children. These laws vary on a state-by-state basis, and it is essential that parents are aware of such governing laws, as well as their options for taking legal action to protect their child’s rights. The primary goal of determining legal guardianship is to decide what is best for the children involved, now and in the future. By hiring a family law attorney, parents can assess their child custody rights and decide how to proceed with winning primary responsibility of their son or daughter.

There are many different adolescent support laws which parents should be familiar with as they are facing either separation or divorce. With this quick guide and introduction, you will learn some of the basics regarding information, regulations, guidelines, and processes for these financial obligations.

Maryland Guidelines

The core of the current Maryland custody and child support laws were adopted in 1990. However, many specific components continue to be revised or amended, including as recently as 2011. The formula for determining how much money is legally obligated takes into account the gross income of each parent, the cost of medical insurance and child care, and any other financial obligations already being paid.  The guidelines also separate cases into either primary custody or shared custody cases. In this state, primary custody applies when a child spends less than 128 overnights per year with the other parent.

The regulations state that the amount owed for financial assistance can be modified, but only when there are material changes to circumstances. This could include a child’s injury to the disability of a parent, to a sizable change in income or assets, the addition of new siblings to the family, and more.  Also, custody and support laws state that child support is terminated at the point in which one of the following happens first: the minor turns 18, gets married, or becomes self-supporting.

If the two parents combine to make more than $10,000 per month, the formulas no longer apply. In this case, the court determines the amount owed based on what the needs of the children are.

Where to Find Public Information

The state publicly provides much of this information. However, it can sometimes be hard to sort through on your own. That’s why working with qualified and experienced family lawyers in Maryland is so crucial. They will be entirely up to date on all of the latest regulations and laws and will know what is possible, how best to proceed, and so forth.

That being said, there are vast resources available online. For example, the Department of Human Resources website, DHR.Maryland.Gov, provides a 45-page PDF report going over all issues of divorce, separation and custody. The same site also offers forms and worksheets to download and complete which take into account current calculations, who the primary custodial parents is, and child support laws to determine precisely what financial obligations may be required.

There are county by county agencies for the enforcement of child support laws. These agencies also provide many other services, and many family lawyers highly recommended that you work with them, even as you work with a private attorney.