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In the state of maryland, when determining child support obligation,

if a parent is not...
In the state of maryland, when determining child support obligation, if a parent is not working will they ignore their obligation or will they estimate their potential earnings for the calculations?
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5/8/2013
max713
max713, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,893
Experience: I am responsive, respectful, and relentless.
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max713 :

Hi. I thank you for choosing Justanswer for your legal question(s). My role as expert is to provide you with utmost service through providing legal information that is honest and truthful (and not overly rosy in nature). Notably, I do not provide advice.

max713 :

You ask a great question. The key is whether the parent is capable of working.

max713 :

If the court concludes that the parent is actually and reasonably unable to work for reasons beyond that parent’s control, than the court will likely enter “0″ for that parent’s income. Hence, that parent wouldn't owe support.

Customer:

Yes, she is...

max713 :

She is capable of working?

Customer:

This particular couple, the father pays child support currently on his own free will. (amount use on Maryland child support calculator). The mother decided that she doesn't want to work so therefore stays home with the children.

Customer:

The children are 6 and 3 yrs old

Customer:

because she doesn't work the $1100 that he gives her monthly only covers the rent, therefore he gives her additional money for food and clothing.

Customer:

My suggestion was for him to get joint physical custody and child support established and the courts will see that the mother is capable of working and he will not have to pay as much as he pays currently, which will in return make her get a job. Is this correct?

max713 :

If she is capable of earning and doesn't earn either voluntarily or because she is discouraged by the job market, the court can impute an income (either at the level of minimum wage or higher - depending on the circumstances).

max713 :

In that case, if the child support obligation is split, it is possible the court will require her to pay based on a set amount based on earning capacity if she is voluntarily not working.

max713 :

... or if she is not looking for work.

max713 :

That is, assuming the court finds that she is capable of working.

max713 :

On those grounds, trying to establish custody and support, so that she would pay support makes sense. This particularly makes sense if he has custody - in which case she would certainly be ordered to pay (as non-custodial parent).

Customer:

Well currently there is no custody set up in court. I have encouraged him to take himself to court and set up some form of shared physical custody and to make his child support payments on the books.

max713 :

If it's truly joint (at least 35% of the overnights (128+ overnights) each year), the shared custody child support guidelines would apply, leading to a potential reduction in the amount owed.

max713 :

Hence, your suggestion makes a good deal of sense.

Customer:

ok that is great to know!

Customer:

Now, will there be a reason the court would not grant shared custody?

max713 :

If the court finds it's not in the child's "best interests".

Customer:

Also, his he request a hearing and she refuses to show up. Will the courts usually side with the parent who is trying to establish some common ground or will they wait until the mother shows up for court?

max713 :

The court will consider the reasonableness or unreasonableness of the parties as one consideration, yes.

Customer:

ok thanks! You have been helpful!

max713 :

Formal considerations are (1) fitness of parents; (2) character and reputation; (3) desires of natural parents and children at issue; (4) material opportunities in life; (5) age, health and fitness of child(ren); (6) residence; (7) length of stay; (8) any prior abandonment.

max713 :

You are most welcome. My pleasure.

max713 :

Please remember to submit a rating prior to exiting this forum.

max713 :

Do you see where to submit a rating, on your screen? Or, instead, do you have any follow up questions? If so, please ask away - as I am here to serve you.

Customer:

No thanks a lot for your help. You have answered my answers!!!

max713 :

Again, you are most welcome. It's my pleasure.

max713 :

Please remember to rate me before you leave.

max713 :

Do you see where to click to submit a rating.

max713 :

?

max713 :

Do you know how to submit a rating? If not, I would be happy to walk you through it.

max713 :

Again, please do not forget to submit a rating. Thank you.

max713
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