As I mentioned previously, the Maryland Child Support guidelines statute in Maryland has a formula set up that you put in the various inputs of income and other support expenses and the number of evenings and then it cranks out a number. So it’s a pretty straightforward calculus. People could do it on their own even but the guidelines get filed when a final divorce is made to the court to grant the divorce, then that becomes part of the final divorce decree. And that would be true, again, if a couple is not married and one spouse has that obligation, you would still owe the same amount of child support. The only difference is you’re not filing for a divorce so it would be established through a contractual agreement between the mother and father.
Do Maryland And DC Recognize Alimony Or Spousal Support Awards In Divorce Cases?
Yes, both jurisdictions, Maryland and DC, recognize alimony or spousal support. And usually the number of years of marriage is an important factor. If one spouse chose to stay home, if one spouse gave up his or her career, if there was adultery, in Maryland, there are 12 factors and there’s a careful analysis that goes on as to whether a spouse is required to pay and how much can be expected to be received. And if it’s a long-term marriage, over 20 years, you could expect there to be what’s called Permanent Alimony in some cases and that would stop at remarriage if that should occur. If it’s somewhere between let’s say a 10 and 20-year marriage, then that might be something that there can be some alimony or support paid. It might be limited and they’d be considered rehabilitative, which is, again, in the situation where the husband or wife gave up their career, let’s say, to raise the children, they need to sharpen some of their skills or gain a new skillset in order to be able to move back into the economic world.
How Is The Amount Of Spousal Support Or Alimony Determined In Maryland Or DC?
It’s a function of what the income is of the higher-earning spouse. It’s a function of what the budget is for the spouse who’s receiving the spousal support or the alimony, and it’s a function of how quickly, again, some rehabilitation can take place. It’s also a function of what other income streams there may be from other assets. All gets looked at in total to determine what a reasonable spousal support should be. In a mediation or a collaborative law setting, that is something that could be thoughtfully and meaningfully negotiated between all parties.
What Is The Grounds For Where A Court Would Consider Approving A Change To Custody?
Let’s take a situation of a parent becomes ill and can no longer take care of the child on a similar schedule, that could be grounds. If a parent loses their job or suffers a substantial reduction in their income, that could be a ground. If someone has to travel for work, if someone’s being relocated for work, I mean there is a number of different varying legitimate factors that come into play. But I would say just a straight out request without any reasonable basis such as a budgetary need or based on an emotional desire to see the child more often usually isn’t going to pan out. All the agreements I am drafting support the parties to come back and talk about the core issues that are impacting the overall family system.
Again, we’re trying to set up a process and an environment where the mother and father feel taken care of in this process. Their humanity matters and so if there’s something that is legitimate, something that’s important to them, then they should be able to come back to the table, if you will, and present those issues and concerns and be heard and be respected in that process.
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