How much child support do I have to pay if the custodial parent continues to be unemployed ? Custody has recently changed and now I am the non-custodial parent. Custodial parent is voluntarily impoverished and has been unemployed now for 6 years. Can they file for and receive child support?
Maryland Law requires both parents to financially support their child. So the custodial parent does pay child support also but just directly to himself or herself when s/he buys things on behalf of the child.
So the answer to your question is “Yes, even an unemployed parent can collect child support.” The child support guidelines are a formula that considers both parents’ income. However, it is also based on the number of overnights each parent has. If your situation is one where the other parent has primary physical custody (defined as you have less than 92 overnights a year or 7.5 per month) then s/he has “primary physical custody” and your income affects the child support calculation much more than the other parent’s income does.
I say that because if her income is zero and yours is $50,000, your child support may not change much at all compared to if her income was $30,000 and yours way $50,000. Note: the same is true at any income level but the analysis is more nuanced once the parents make a combined income of over $180,000 (that jumps to $300,000 in October 2021).
On the other hand, if you have shared physical custody of your child defined as you having 92 overnights per year or more, than the child support calculation uses a “shared guidelines” formula and that calculation weighs the other parent’s income (or imputed/potential income) and that, and the fact that you have more overnights, reduces your child support. In a shared custody scenario you’d also have to pay your pro rata share of activities and other big expenses and then the other side should have to pay something (_____%) so an imputed income is more important. After all, you don’t want to have to pay 100% of anything.
You can use an on-line child support calculator provider at the www.dhr.state.md.us website or you can visit your local Circuit Court’s Pro Se Assistance Clinic for a volunteer attorney to help or you could pay for a consultation with an experienced domestic attorney who will show you the various child support scenarios and explain “voluntary impoverishment” and answer all your questions about child support and the other expenses that you may have to pay for your child.
These consultations are designed to provide you with the maximum amount of information and answers that are specific to your case and your questions. At MLO/Mulinazzi Law Office our attorneys spend up to 90 minutes with clients while only charging for 60 minutes so that the client knows that the attorney is taking the time to answer not only everything the clients but we also give answers that relate to the situation and provide information about issues that will/could come up in the future. This will end up saving you a lot of money (and headache) and that is our job.