Archive for August, 2014

A Comparison of Child Support under the Maryland, Virginia and D.C. Guidelines

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Here is a comparison applying the child support guidelines of each local jurisdiction to a typical case: two children, sole custody, $0 health insurance and $0 child care costs and combined monthly income of $10,000, non-custodial parent’s income is $7,500 and custodial parent’s income is $2,500:
District
total support $25,174/12 = $2,098
custodial % of income .75
recommended support order $1,573

Maryland
total support $1,811
custodial % of income .75
recommended support order $1,358

Virginia
total support – $1,567
custodial % of income .75
recommended support order $1,175

Again, applying the child support guidelines to a case with the same facts except combined monthly income of $15,000, non-custodial parent’s income is $11,250 and custodial parent’s income is $3,750:
District of Columbia recommended support order – $2,197

Maryland recommended support order – $2,135

Virginia recommended support order – $1,541

And the same facts except combined monthly income of $20,000, non-custodial parent’s income is $15,000 and custodial parent’s income is $5,000
District of Columbia: recommended support order – $2,714

Maryland recommended support order (extrapolated)- $2,847

Virginia recommended support order – $1,765

And now with combined monthly income of $30,000, non-custodial parent’s income is $22,500 and custodial parent’s income is $7,500
District of Columbia: recommended support order – $2,714

Maryland recommended support order (extrapolated)- $4,271

Virginia recommended support order – $2,144

As you can see, at higher incomes, child support is much lower in Virginia than in Maryland or the District, just as it was in 2011. At incomes over $20,000, recommended support in Maryland using extrapolation is much higher than in DC or Virginia.

Child Support in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

The amount of child support payable is determined under statutory guidelines in all three local jurisdictions.  The law in each jurisdiction provides that the amount of support is determined by applying the guidelines to the facts of the case.  That amount is presumed to be the correct amount of support.

Virginia revised its child support guidelines effective July 1, 2014. All three jurisdictions use a shared income model as the basis for the child support guidelines.   Shared income models are based on the notion that the amount of money needed to support the child(ren) should be based on the combined incomes of the parties.   The Court then allocates that amount between the parties in proportion to their respective incomes.  The shared income model also takes account of the number of children and whether custody is sole or shared.  All three jurisdictions add reasonable day care costs to the basic child support obligation.  Those costs are divided between the parties.  All three jurisdictions adjust for health insurance costs attributable to the children.  See DC Code Sec. 16.916.01, MD. Code F.L. Article Sec. 12-204, Va. Code Sec. 20-108.2.

One big difference among the jurisdictions is that in the District child support is payable for a child until age 21.  In Maryland and Virginia child support ends at age 18, except that support continues for a full time high school student until the earlier of high school graduation or the child’s nineteenth birthday.  Also, D.C. judges, unlike their Virginia and Maryland counterparts, will award support arrearages for a period of time up to 24 months prior to the filing of the complaint seeking support. See 16-916.01(v).
The Maryland guidelines do not explicitly apply to cases where combined monthly income exceeds $15,000, but Maryland case law suggests that it can be appropriate to determine child support in above guidelines cases by extrapolating at the marginal rate applicable at the highest guidelines bracket.  The most popular Maryland child support calculator, SASI-CALC, extrapolates in that way so that is frequently is used, at least as a starting point, in settlement negotiations.  Child support extrapolated from the top of the guidelines is also often ordered in Maryland cases even though it is not strictly the presumptively correct amount under the statute.  The child support calculator in the also popular “Kaufmann guidelines” does not extrapolate.

The District of Columbia child support guidelines apply up to combined monthly income of $20,000.  The District’s guidelines do not apply presumptively to cases where the parent’s combined income exceeds $20,000 per month, but support cannot be less than it would be at $20,000 combined income.  Extrapolation form the top of the guidelines is not approved.  DC law requires case by case justification of  support in excess of the top of the guidelines.   D.C Code Section 16-916.01(h).

Virginia recently revised its statute effective July 2014 to increase the income limit of the child support guideline to combined monthly income of $35,000, and adjust support payable at all income levels.  Although the Virginia statutory child support charts end at combined monthly income of $35,000, the statute explicitly provides for the rate of child support on monthly incomes exceeding $35,000.  For example, total support for two children increases $3.40 for each $100 dollars of combined income over $35,000 per month.  So no case is “above the guidelines” in Virginia. Va. Code Sec. 20-108.2.B

 
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