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Actual Adjusted Income & Maryland Child Support Obligations


Under Maryland Family Law, parents must ensure that they take care of and support their children. To calculate the level of child support each parent should pay, the State of Maryland employs a set of guidelines. These guidelines ensure that the level of support required is fair to all parties concerned. The starting point for determining child support obligations is a calculation of actual adjusted income.

Actual Adjusted Income

The definitions of actual income and actual adjusted income appear under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 12-201. Under this section, the term actual income refers to a person’s total revenue from all sources. Actual income can include salaries, wages, and bonuses as well as dividends, pensions, and trusts. Various benefit programs — such as Social Security or workers’ compensation — also qualify as actual income.

In certain cases, severance pay, capital gains, gifts, and prizes can be considered actual income. On the other hand, Section 12-201 excludes most forms of public assistance from the definition of actual income.

Under Section 12-201, the term actual adjusted income is calculated by determining the level of actual income and subtracting:

  • Child support obligations;
  • Alimony support payments; and
  • Maintenance obligations.

Child Care Expenses

Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 12-204, each parent is responsible for their share of child care expenses, in proportion to their actual adjusted incomes. In this context, the level of child care expenses is determined by:

  • Family Experience — Unless a state court determines that past family experiences were not in the best interests of the children involved;
  • Licensed Sources — In the best interests of the child, the cost of child care expenses may be tied to industry-standard rates; or
  • Special Needs — The state courts may award additional child care expenses if there is evidence that the children involved have special needs.

Insurance & Medical Expenses

Section 12-204 also outlines the requirements for health insurance coverage and extraordinary medical expenses. In terms of health insurance, the actual cost of providing coverage is divided between the parents, in proportion to their actual adjusted incomes. The same applies for any extraordinary or otherwise unforeseen medical expenses incurred on behalf of the children involved.

Education & Transportation Expenses

Section 12-204 further highlights a number of considerations for education and transportation expenses. Child support obligations do not necessarily include these expenses. But the state courts may order so anyway, and the parents can always agree to split these costs. If included as a part of child support, each parent is partially responsible for education and transportation expenses, in proportion to their actual adjusted incomes.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have legal questions about child support in Maryland, it can be demonstrably valuable to reach out to a skilled family law attorney. The Bel Air child support attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including child support. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.


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