Dissecting 3 Aspects of Child Support Obligations in Maryland
When unmarried or divorced people have a child together, Maryland child support laws require each parent to share financial responsibility. Ultimately, the Maryland courts approve child support arrangements between parents, ensuring that any such arrangement serves the best interests of the children involved.
The amount of child support each parent pays can change based child custody rights, earning capacity, and similar factors. Some of the most important factors in the determination of child support obligations include: (1) child care expenses, (2) health insurance coverage and extraordinary medical expenses, and (3) specific educational and transportation expenses.
- Child Care Expenses
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 12-204 provides that parents are responsible for their share of child care expenses. Under this section, child care expenses are generally determined by actual family experience. In other words, past child care expenses are generally used as a model for any such expenses in the future. Though there can be additional considerations for children with special needs.
That being said, there are certain cases in which there is no actual family experience. Additionally, there are cases where the Maryland courts determine that actual family experience goes against the child’s best interests. In these situations, the state courts traditionally rely on the cost of obtaining quality child care from a licensed provider.
In the end, the responsibility for child care expenses is divided amongst the parents in proportion to their adjusted actual incomes.
- Health Insurance Coverage & Extraordinary Medical Expenses
Section 12-204 also establishes parent responsibility for handling health insurance coverage and extraordinary medical expenses. In this context, the term health insurance coverage refers to:
- Medical insurance;
- Dental insurance;
- Prescription drug coverage; and
- Vision insurance.
Extraordinary medical expenses refers to:
- Uninsured costs in excess of $250 for medical treatment in a single year;
- Uninsured, reasonable, and necessary costs for various medical treatments for standard and chronic health issues; and
- Professional counseling or psychiatric therapy for diagnosed mental disorders.
Concerning health insurance coverage and extraordinary medical expenses, these costs are added to the total child support obligation. Then each parent pays their share, in proportion to their adjusted actual incomes.
- Specific Educational & Transportation Expenses
Section 12-204 also furnishes the guidelines for specific educational and transportation expenses. More specifically, these costs involve:
- Attending a special or private school that meets the child’s specific educational needs; or
- Transporting the child between the homes of each parent.
Concerning specific educational and transportation expenses, these costs are divided amongst the parents, with each paying in proportion to their adjusted actual incomes.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal assistance with an aspect of Maryland family law, including child support obligations, contact the Bel Air family attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered. We can assist you today.