Child support in Maryland is not based on how many hours a parent spends with their children, but rather how many overnights the kids spend with either parent. Physical custody is often highly contested because overnight access has a direct impact on the parents’ financial childcare obligations. In Maryland, child support is calculated according to an income-shared model, and both parties are legally responsible to financially support their children.

However, the parent with less custody access generally pays child support to the other. Furthermore, the parent with physical custody should pay for their children’s needs while they are in their care. Physical custody and financial responsibilities in Maryland typically include feeding them, clothing them, and paying for anything they do during parenting time. Those seeking to implement a child-sharing plan that meets their family’s needs should consult a diligent physical custody attorney before entering into litigation with their children’s other parent.

Sole Physical Custody

The parent with sole physical custody would likely receive child support from the other parent. While the custodial parent would be responsible for their kids’ needs during the time that they are with them, child support is calculated on a much higher scale for those who spend the most time with their children. As a result, many people fight over sole custody and seek to obtain shared parenting time because of the financial impact.

Calculating a Parent’s Financial Responsibilities

Child support is calculated according to an income-shared model and is based on the gross income of both parties. Who pays for the children’s health insurance, how much that costs, whether there is any work-related childcare, and whether there is any extraordinary medical care all go into determining a parent’s financial responsibilites.

The amount of support that a judge orders from either parent would be based on Maryland child support guidelines and is not optional. There are ways that the courts could deviate downwards or upwards when considering physical custody and financial responsibilities in Maryland, but they are very limited by these formulaic procedures. It is highly advisable that you retain an attorney when calculating and filing for child support.

Physical Custody and Tax Status

Experienced legal counsel could advise a parent to talk to their accountant about whether they can claim dependency of their children. The IRS has laws on which parent may take the dependency exemption, unless the parties agree otherwise and it is incorporated into a court order. For example, a custodial parent may be able to take a dependency exemption for their children, unless there is a contrary agreement. However, dependency exemptions are typically negotiated between parties, especially when one party is paying child support.

Fortunately, parents are often able to come to an agreement that can be incorporated into a court order. Parties who agree to share the dependency exemption may do so regardless of tax law.  Otherwise, many parents go to court and ask a judge to rule on who gets the dependency exemption as well as other aspects of physical custody and financial responsibilities in Maryland.