Both parents have an obligation to financially support their minor children.  In Maryland, the court calculates each parent’s child support obligation by using the Maryland Child Support Guidelines.  The Maryland Child Support Guidelines apply to families whose total gross monthly income is below $15,000.00 and are mandatory so they must be used by all Judges.  The relevant numbers that are inputted into the guidelines are the gross monthly income of both parties, alimony if it is being paid or received by either party, child support paid for another child, work related daycare expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, health insurance costs for the child, and transportation and/or school fees.

If the gross monthly income of the parties is above $15,000.00, then the Court is no longer forced to use the guidelines.  Instead, the Judge has discretion in setting the amount of child support.  The most common method for above-guidelines cases is called “extrapolation”, where the Judge simply projects the guidelines out as if they did not stop at the cap and uses the same formula to compute the monthly obligation.