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Maryland Child Support Guidelines

Every child in Maryland has the right to receive support from both parents, even if the parents are divorced, legally separated, or never married in the first place. Child support generally takes the form of money paid by the parent without custody of their minor children (noncustodial parent) to the parent with custody (custodial parent) in order to provide for their care and wellbeing.

Maryland has fairly strict guidelines when calculating the appropriate amount of child support. Parents are permitted to create their own child support agreement, as long as it doesn't stray too far from the state guidelines, or they can request a court order.

Child Support Statutes in Maryland

The following table highlights the main provisions of Maryland's Child Support laws.

Code Section

Family Law Articles §12–101 et seq.

Who is Responsible?

Both parents.

How is Support Calculated?

Formula in Maryland Family Law Article §12–204


Obligations are based upon the combined adjusted actual income of both parents. Even if a parent is unemployed, child support may be calculated based on a determination of potential income.

What is Included in a Support Order?

Child care expenses, health insurance coverage, medical expenses, educational expenses, and travel expenses.

How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support?

Until the child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later, but no later than age 19. May be earlier than 18 if the child becomes emancipated.

Local Child Support Offices

Maryland Child Support Services

Maryland Child Support Formula

Maryland Child Support Calculator

How to File For Child Support in Maryland

The Child Support Enforcement Administration handles child support services in Maryland. Any custodian, including parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or court-appointed guardians, is eligible for services. The CSEA is a valuable resource for:

  • Locating the other parent
  • Legally establishing paternity
  • Obtaining a court order for child support and health insurance
  • Collecting child support payments
  • Enforcing the court order
  • Reviewing and adjusting the court-ordered support amount

To receive child support services, the custodian should complete the Application For Support Enforcement Services and file it with your local child support office.

Normally, a child support order can be established within 90-180 days. This process could be delayed if the other parent lives out of state, is incarcerated, fails to appear for a court hearing, or if there are problems verifying income. If parents are willing to cooperate with each other, cases can be registered more easily and might proceed to a hearing or agreement more quickly.

There's a $25 application fee. Hard copy applications and further information can be obtained by calling the Child Support Administration at 800-332-6347.

How Child Support in Maryland is Calculated

Maryland uses what's known as an "income shares model" for its child support guidelines. This model takes into account the income for both parents, the number of shared minor children, the children's health insurance costs, any child support being paid for other children, any alimony being paid or received, and the children's extraordinary medical expenses.

The model is designed so that the child receives the same proportion of parental income as he or she would if the parents still lived together. The CSEA provides a child support guideline calculator that can estimate a parent's share of support or what a parent might receive in child support.

Maryland Child Support Guidelines: Related Resources

Maryland's child support laws can be complicated, if you would like legal assistance with a child support matter, you can contact a Maryland family law attorney. You can also visit FindLaw's sections on Child Custody, Child Support Modifications, and Child Support Enforcement for more articles and resources on this topic.

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