Maryland Child Support Laws and Guidelines

The laws governing child support in Maryland are different from that of other states. MD child support law sets how much the child maintenance should be, and the duration of such payments, plus it seeks to guide parents in exceptional cases such as deviation, support for disabled children, and retroactive support.

As you may already know, child support (or child maintenance) is a continuous monetary payment made by a spouse to another spouse, guardian, caregiver,  or the state for the upkeep of children after a divorce or separation.

The person who is required to pay child support is referred to as the “obligor,” whereas the person who is eligible to receive child maintenance is referred to as the “obligee.”

What are MD Child Support Laws?

Maryland has some quite severe rules for determining the right amount of child support. As long as it doesn’t deviate significantly from the state minimums, parents are free to draft their own child support agreement, or they can ask a judge to issue one.

The combined adjusted actual income of both parents is used to determine obligations. Child support may be determined based on a determination of anticipated income even if one parent is unemployed.

What does Child Support Cover in Maryland?

Maryland child support is meant to pay for a kid’s essential necessities, such as shelter, food, clothing, and medical bills. It can be used to cover other fees as well, such as tuition, books, supplies, and uniforms associated with schooling. Some parents pay for their children’s extracurricular activities, such as sports, clubs, or summer camps, with child support.

Child Support When One Parent Lives Outside Maryland

To enforce child support orders beyond state boundaries, each state has to have the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) in place. Maryland is no exception.

The UIFSA ensures that child support processes and procedures are consistent across states. When one spouse lives in another state where the Maryland courts do not have authority to adjudicate or enforce orders, UIFSA reduces these bottlenecks.

As a result of the UIFSA, an MD child support attorney can take legal action against a spouse who now lives in another state to enforce a child support order.

How is Child Maintenance Calculated In Maryland?

How Child Maintenance Calculated In Maryland

Learn How Child Maintenance Calculated In Maryland

To calculate child maintenance, Maryland uses the Income Shares Model. The Maryland Child Support Guidelines make an attempt to calculate the percentage of income that parents would devote to their children if they shared a home. The following steps are used by the Guidelines to determine child support payments:

  1. Determine the real earnings of each parent.
  2. Calculate the imputed or adjusted actual income for each parent.
  3. Total the imputed or adjusted actual incomes for both parents. The combined sum is used to calculate the “basic child support obligation” using the Guidelines chart.
  4. Include some extra costs like those for health insurance, childcare, and extraordinary medical bills. Also include the “self-support reserve,” which is an adjustment to make sure the parent paying child support keeps their monthly income at least at the federal poverty threshold for an individual in 2019 after paying child support and certain taxes. As a result, the “total child support obligation” is created.
  5. A portion of the total child support obligation is paid by the non-custodial parent.
    Md. Code, Family Law § 12–201

Maryland Child Support Calculator and Worksheet

While a child support calculator can be used to estimate child support, it is not a guarantee of the final amount of child maintenance that the judge will order. A child support worksheet is a form used by the MD courts (or negotiating spouses) to approximate the basic child support obligation of the parents.

Regardless of which approach you use, spouses can decide on a child support sum and amend the worksheet accordingly to ensure it accurately reflects their agreement. Both establish a presumption duty to pay child support.

The final decision on the amount of child support is made by the administrative law judge, administrator, or court.

Gross Income Included in Calculating Child Maintenance

For child support calculation purposes, gross income includes:

  • all wages and salary, including commissions, military pay, tips, overtime, and bonuses
  • self-employment income
  • interest and dividends
  • net rental income from property the parent owns

Even jobless parents are likely to have some sources of income, like:

  • severance pay
  • unemployment benefits
  • retirement benefits
  • veterans’ benefits
  • disability benefits, or
  • workers’ compensation awards.

An MD family court judge may also allocate an income value to parents who do not currently have income-earning employment (like a second house). If a jobless parent inherits assets that can be sold, for instance, the judge may include the property’s market value as a part of such parent’s income.

Where parents willfully go unemployed or underemployed in order to avoid paying child support, judges may infer (assign) income based on what they are supposed to be earning.

Net Income for MD Guidelines

How to determine Net Income for MD child support

How to determine Net Income for MD child support

Remove the following costs from the total gross income to get the parent’s net income for paying child support in Maryland:

  • Social Security taxes, or any mandated retirement plan contributions if the parent does not pay those taxes.
  • Income taxes, both federal and state (based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one exemption)
  • union dues
  • The MD court has ruled the parent to pay the child’s health and dental insurance premiums, as well as additional medical bills.

Parents who have already paid child support for another kid or children (from a previous relationship) may be eligible for a refund.

Is Medical Health Insurance Part of Child Support in Maryland?

Medical Health Insurance and Child Support in Maryland

Medical Health Insurance and Child Support in Maryland

Yes, in addition to the amount of support determined by the guidelines in Maryland, the parents will be responsible for the child’s health and dental insurance.

Whereas the noncustodial parent is presumed to provide coverage, this can readily be transferred to the other parent if it makes good sense.

For instance, suppose the custodial parent’s employer offers healthcare insurance for the dependent but the noncustodial parent does not.

Factors Maryland Courts Consider Before Ordering Maintenance

The following factors must be considered by the court when determining whether Maryland Family Code applies:

  • The age of the child and needs; the parents’ ability to assist
  • Financial resources available to the child
  • For a set period of time, you have custody and access to a child.
  • An increase or decrease in the obligee’s earnings or income due to the obligee’s property and assets
  • Child care expenses incurred by either parent in order to keep a job
  • any other children under the care of either party
  • Any other children under the care of either party
  • What kind of alimony or spousal maintenance is being paid or received;
  • Obligor or obligee receives an automobile, house, or other benefits from his or her employer or business entity.
  • The parties or the child’s special education, health-care, or other expenses
  • The cost of traveling to obtain custody of and access to a child.
  • Cash flow from any estate and assets, including real estate, personal property, and business property, can be positive or negative.

Modifying Maryland Child Support Order

Maryland law prohibits changing child support modifications purely at the request of a parent or because they don’t like the amount of child support they have been ordered to pay.

If you want to amend a child support payment, you must present evidence that your financial status has changed and that this change is justified.

The typical scenario for this altered financial condition to qualify for a modification of your support order is a loss of at least 25% of your income.

How to Challenge or Modify Child Support Order in MD

In MD, you can try to modify a child support order in two different ways:

  1. Either parent has the right to request that the office of Child Support Enforcement examine the child support order and consider any potential modifications once every three years.
    You should put your request for a review and revision in writing and preserve a copy for your records as confirmation that you made the request.
    Your child support case number and other identifying information should be included on the request, along with an explanation of why you’re asking for a review of your order, before signing and dating it.
  2. Either parent may submit a motion to change an existing child support order at any time. The circuit court where the child support order was issued is where you should file the motion. People filing court filings without an attorney can frequently get paperwork and limited assistance from a family law self-help center at the circuit court.

*Depending on how the initial order was made, motions can be filed in either the paternity division or the family division of the clerk’s office in Baltimore City. Perhaps you should check both offices.

Paternity division clerk’s office: Mitchell Courthouse, Room 441, (410) 333-3738

Family division clerk’s office, Courthouse East, Room 462, (410) 333-3711

Pro se office, Courthouse East, Room 232 (assistance for those without attorneys).

Steps to Collect Child Support in Maryland

Steps to Collect Child Support in Maryland

Steps to Collect Child Support in Maryland

Getting a child support order in place is only half the struggle in Maryland. You’ll also have to collect the money itself. A noncustodial parent is responsible for paying the full amount of child maintenance per month as imposed by the court. Here are the steps for getting child support in MD

1. Open a Child Support Case

Complete a child support application with your local child support agency/office

2. Locate the Other Parent

To begin the child maintenance procedure in MD, the child support services (CSS) office will use the information provided by the applying parent, as well as information gathered from other sources, to try to locate the other parent.

3. Establish Parentage

It’s critical to establish a legitimate relationship with the child when the other parent has been located. The state will assist you in locating the sufficient means. Parents can choose to acknowledge their parentage voluntarily or organize a genetic screening.

4. Establish a Child Support Order

A Maryland child support order specifies how much the other parent should pay and includes details such as the payment schedule and provisions for the child’s health insurance.

5. Set Up Payment

Deducting child maintenance from a parent’s paycheck and transferring the money to the other parent or guardian is the most typical method of payment. It’s a simple way to make and track child support payments.

6. Enforce the Support Order

Your MD child support services will enforce the child support order if the noncustodial parent does not pay the full amount or does not pay any. Exposing overdue child support payments to credit bureaus, intercepting income tax refunds, and Withholding child maintenance from unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits are examples of other enforcement measures.

7. Review the Order

Three years after the order is issued, either parent can request their local child support office to revise it. They can ask for a reassessment sooner than three years if a parent’s situation has changed significantly, such as loss of employment or imprisonment.

Maryland Child Support Services Office, Number and Login Portal

Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSA)
Address: 170 W Ridgely Rd Suite 200,
Timonium, MD 21093,
United States
Phone: +1 800-332-6347

Retroactive Child Support Arrears

Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSA) will step in to collect any child support arrears on the custodial parent’s behalf if the non-custodial parent falls behind on an obligation, voluntarily quits their job, or decides not to pay.

If a parent pays as directed, arrears due to the State may be minimized. Arrears owing to the State are reduced by 50% if the parent pays as directed for a period of 12 months. The amount owed to the State in arrears is reduced to zero if the parent pays as directed for 24 months in a row.

To enforce arrears, the Maryland CSA uses various child support enforcement tools listed including:

  • Placing a lien on personal property
  • Garnishing bank accounts
  • Holding a parent in contempt of court
  • Reporting a parent to Credit Bureau
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Offsetting federal and state income tax refunds
  • Wage Withholding
  • Passport Denial
  • Suspension of professional license
  • Intercept lottery winnings
  • Collect unemployment insurance
  • Collect a parent’s Workers Compensation

If you feel the arrears are being demanded wrongly, you can learn how to get child support arrears dismissed HERE.

How to Pay Child Maintenance in Maryland

In Maryland, parents can pay child maintenance in a variety of ways, as long as your order doesn’t state otherwise:

  • by debit or credit card,
  • mail,
  • check
  • bank transfer
  • direct deposit
  • income withholding, or
  • auto-draft from a bank account.

How to Check your Child Support Payment History in MD

Child Support Payment History in MD

How to Check Child Support Payment History in MD

When there are disagreements between the parents and a need to confirm how much money is owed, child support payment records are extremely beneficial.

Click here for details on how to check your MD child support payment history.

When Does Child Support End in Maryland?

According to Maryland law, child support is paid up until the minor kid becomes 18 years old. If the youngster is still enrolled in high school, it may be extended until age 19. Regardless of the child’s age, if there is unpaid child support, the agency will continue to demand payment until all arrears are paid.

Nevertheless, if the judge determines that the child is disabled (physically or mentally), the child can receive support perpetually.

Custody Rights of a Child in Maryland

Understanding Custody Rights of a Child in Maryland

How Does MD Child Support Work if one Parent Has no Job?

The Maryland judiciary has ruled that, pending a judge’s decision to modify the child support order, unemployed parents must continue to make their required payments. Call the Department of Human Services Call Center at 1-800-322-6347 if you have questions about child support payments or receipts.

Is Child Support Tax Deductible in Maryland?

NO. In Maryland, child support payments are neither taxable to the recipient nor tax-deductible by the payer as stated by the IRS. Don’t include child support payments when calculating your gross income to see whether you have to file a tax return.

However, either parent may be eligible for a dependency exemption per child. If the parents can’t agree on who receives the exemption, the judge will set out the terms in a court order.

Getting a Skilled Maryland Child Support Attorney

If you are involved in a family law matter in Maryland, you may have a lot more questions than answers at this moment. You are not alone; Correspondence with members has shown that using the services of specialized child support attorneys saves a lot of hassles and most importantly, ensures you come out as a winner for you and your kid.

If you need to fight your child maintenance cause in MD with confidence, then you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.

Luckily, we have compiled a database of these expert child support lawyers and made them available for the convenience of our members. You can reach them at the click of a button for legal advice and representation on child maintenance.

Click Here to Get our Free Maryland Alimony recommendation.

Maryland Resource

- Maryland Child Adoption Guidelines
- Maryland Childcare Guidelines
- Maryland Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- Maryland Child Support Guidelines
- Maryland Divorce Guidelines
- Maryland Marital Property Guidelines
- Maryland Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check Maryland Child Support Payment History
- Maryland Child Support Calculator

Child Support Laws in all 50 States

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T-U - Tennessee |  Texas |  Utah
V-W - Vermont |  VirginiaWashington DC | Washington StateWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming


Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.