In Maryland, both parents are responsible for their child’s financial support. This means that when parents are not in a relationship, the non-custodial parent will need to pay support to meet their share of the child’s financial needs. However, the state does consider many factors in deciding the amount that will be paid. It also allows parents to reach their own agreement with payments if the agreed-to amount is similar to the one that the state would establish.
Factors considered in determining child support
To determine child support, the state considers a variety of factors, with the goal of ensuring the child will receive a share of support from the non-custodial parent that is equal to what the child would receive if the parents were still living together. The factors considered include:
- Each parent’s income or their earning potential if they are unemployed
- Alimony paid or received by each parent
- Child support for other children paid by a parent
- The number of children the couple shares
- The cost of the child’s health insurance and any major medical costs that they need for treatment
Applying for child support
To begin the process of applying for child support, the custodial parent must file the Application for Support Enforcement Services with their child support office and pay the application fee. The child support process can take between 90 and 180 days for the order to be issued. However, if the parents work together on the support agreement, the process might be quicker. If there are other difficulties, such as the non-custodial parent living out of state, being in jail or being hard to locate, the process might take longer.
The Child Support Enforcement Administration can provide many resources for parents seeking child support. They can help from the beginning of the process to enforcement of the order and any subsequent modifications.