The vast majority of states, including Maryland, use the “income shares” model to calculate child support after a separation or divorce. This model takes both parents’ incomes into account as well as the time that each parent spends with their child.
What is the income shares model?
The goal of the income shares model is to maintain the same the financial support for a child that they would have received if their parents had stayed together. In other words, the child should not suddenly begin living in a low-income household just because their custodial parent earns less than their noncustodial parent.
How the income shares calculation is done
The income shares model calculation begins by assessing the monthly cost of raising the child. This amount will vary based on the cost of living in the specific jurisdiction as well as special considerations for the child’s needs. Child custody and child support orders each affect each other since the parent with less custody time will usually pay more child support.
Once the monthly parenting expense is calculated, the financial obligation is divided between the parents based on their incomes. The amount of the time that each parent spends with their child will count towards some payment of their financial obligation. Typically, the income shares calculation will result in the noncustodial parent paying something to the custodial parent each month.
Your child will likely have some extra expenses that go beyond basic needs like rent, food, medical and clothing costs. When calculating child support, courts will also factor in the cost of things like extracurricular activities or therapy. If you and the other parent are both unsatisfied with the income shares calculation, you also have the option to negotiate a child support agreement on y our own or through mediation, but it will be subject to court approval.