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Why a parent’s income matters for child support

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2021 | Family Law |

Maryland parents know all too well how expensive it can be to care for children. For those who are not in any kind of relationship with their child’s other parent, there is often an added degree of difficulty as they have to try and work with that person to determine how to financially provide for the child over the course of growing up. The United States Department of Agriculture recently released a report that outlines the expense of child-rearing. It found that families who make more money tend to spend more money on their children. While that may not come as a surprise to some, what it shows is the effect that income levels may have on child support payments.

The report analyzed figures starting in 1960, looking at several components that impact expenses, such as where the family lives and how old the child may be. It revealed that when incorporating inflation but not the costs of going to a university, it costs more than $284,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18. The study accounted for expenses such as food, shelter and other items deemed necessary for raising a child. Because a family making more money tends to spend more on raising their children, which increases their standard of living, this may have a significant impact when it comes time to calculate child support payments.

There are several methods used to calculate child support, but the one used in Maryland is used in a majority of U.S. states. Known as the income shares model, it assumes that a child would still need the same percentage of income from a given parent that he or she would have if the two parents were still part of the same household. Admittedly, this may put a strain on some parents, as they are not able to share expenses while having two households to support.

Though there are other considerations made when calculating child support, the bottom line is that courts will strive to do what is in the best interest of children. For Maryland parents who have to either receive or pay child support, it may make sense to consult a family law attorney. A skilled legal representative will work toward a fair resolution that puts the well-being of children first.

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