As anticipated in a posting last year, the 2010 legislative session has resulted in legislation to modify the Child Support Guidelines. For Maryland Family Law Attorneys and most of their clients in high income counties such as, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County and Howard County this will translate into increased child support awards. House Bill 500 ,which is the first upward adjustment in the guidelines since they were adopted over 20 years ago will become effective on October 1, 2010. Until then the existing guidelines will remain in effect.
The existing guidelines go up to a combined adjusted annual income of $10,000 per month. Currently at that level, the "basic child support amount is $1040, $1616 and $2026 for parents with 1, 2 and 3 children respectively. For example, if a mother had custody and had no income these would be the basic child support obligation of a father earning $120, 00 per year. Under the new law, basic child support would increase to $1271, $1811 and $2101 respectively.
Beginning October 1, 2010, the new guidelines will be used to establish pendent lite and permanent support and to modify existing child support orders. However, existing child support orders can be modified only if there has been a material change of circumstances. The bill expressly provides that the adoption of the new guidelines is not a material change of circumstances for purposes of modification of child support.
The new guidelines go up to a combined adjusted actual income of $15,000. For couples with combined income above that level the law continues to gives substantially more discretion to the court in setting the support level.