For many people, it can be a confusing and difficult process to prove a partner’s actual income for a Maryland child support determination. In making a Maryland child support determination, a Maryland Circuit Court will rely on a number of factors in order to set an appropriate child support amount that is in the best interest of the child.
For typical W-2 wage earners the process is less complicated, but every family is different, and not all parents are standard W-2 employees. In order to make a Maryland child support determination, the Maryland circuit court judge or magistrate must consider the obligated party’s “actual monthly income.” Under Maryland Family Law Article Statute 12-201(b)(3) “Actual monthly income” includes salary, wages, bonus compensation, social security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, alimony and imputed income for unemployed or underemployed spouses. The amount of actual monthly income for both parents is then ran through the Maryland Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount the obligated parent must pay.
Financial Statements Are Required for A Maryland Child Support Determination in Prince George’s County, MD and Montgomery County, MD
A financial statement signed under penalty of perjury must be submitted to the court in all Maryland Child Support Determinations. Maryland courts require financial statements, in order to provide the Circuit Court Judge or Family Law Magistrate in a Maryland Child Support Determination proceeding with an overview of the parties actual monthly income and expenses. In the financial statement, a parent or guardian is required to fully disclose their income from all sources, as well as their child related expenses. Child-related expenses include child care, health insurance coverage, extraordinary medical expenses, and transportation expenses. The financial statement should also include any financial obligations for any additional children not related to the current child support case. The court will rely heavily on these documents in making a Maryland child support determination. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the children that all sources of income be identified and all child-related expenses be disclosed fully for each party in their financial statement.
Accurate Financial Disclosure and Financial Discovery are Important in a Maryland Child Support Determination Proceeding
A parent or guardian seeking a Maryland child support order may encounter difficulty determining what the other parent’s “actual monthly income” is if the obligated party receives income from non-traditional sources. Non-traditional earning sources could include self employment pay, unreported contract work, or self-reporting employment with substantial cash payment or tips. Non-traditional earning sources can be difficult to trace without financial discovery. In cases involving parties with non-traditional sources of income, the person seeking to establish an accurate reflection of income must conduct discovery in order to piece together how much income the obligated party actually receives. Often financial discovery requires subpoenaing or requesting bank records, or even examining the obligor’s purchase history. reviewing a non-traditional earner’s spending patterns could reveal a party that has failed to accurately disclose income and increase child support in a Maryland Child Support Determination proceeding.
If a party does not reveal all sources of income to the court, the party can be subject to serious penalties. Maryland Circuit Courts take sworn statements, such as financial statements, very seriously. If a party fails to disclose or update a financial statement, the Court may treat the misrepresentations or failure to update information as if the party has lied under oath. Typically, a party who fails to disclose their income accurately may be held in contempt of court for a failure to disclose their full “actual monthly income” and their failure could jeopardize their credibility with the court in other matters, such as child custody or alimony determinations.
Speak with An Experienced Child Support Attorney to Help with Determining a Child Support Amount in Montgomery County, Maryland and Prince George’s County Maryland
If you are seeking child support or a child support modification in Prince George’s County or Montgomery County, or you simply have questions about your rights as a parent, the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams, LLC can help. Let the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams, LLC work with you to assure a fair and equitable Maryland child support determination for you and your children. You can reach us at (301) 778 – 9950 or by leaving an online request for a consultation today.