How Is the Child Support Obligation Calculated in Maryland?

When an individual is going through a divorce, there are many personal and financial details that must be ironed out between each partner before the split is finalized. When couples with children are preparing to split, one of those critical details is child support logistics. Both parents are required to support their children after divorce in the state of Maryland, but how is child support obligation actually calculated?

Calculating Child Support Obligation in Maryland

Maryland uses the “income share” method to calculate child support payments. This method is designed to ensure that both parents, custodial and non-custodial, are contributing to supporting their children once a divorce is finalized.

The specifics of a child support agreement can be ironed out outside of court by the parents or can be settled in family court after a child support order. The details and ultimate ruling of the court will most likely hinge upon the following items:

  • The total monthly income of each parent
  • Adjusted actual income of each parent (accounts for existing child support and alimony costs)
  • Childcare expenses for employment purposes
  • Health insurance costs
  • Extraordinary outstanding or expected medical costs
  • Accurate financial statements
  • College funding (not legally required in Maryland, but can still be included in private negotiations)

Under the income share model, the court uses the collected information above to estimate the total cost of raising the child or children. From there, the court focuses on ensuring the non-custodial parent is set to contribute a proportional portion of their earnings in child support.  


The specifics of each case will cause the results to vary, but here is an example of how child support obligation could feasibly be calculated:

A non-custodial parent earns a total of $3,000 per month, and the custodial parent earns $2,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising a child is $1,500 a month. The non-custodial parent’s income is 60% of the parent’s total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays 60% of the cost to support the child, or $900 in this case.

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