Child Support -- Maryland vs. the District of Columbia

There are key differences in child support in Maryland versus the District of Columbia. This may be important, because a separating spouse may have a choice where to move within the DC metropolitan area. What are some of the key differences?

Limits of Income to Which Guidelines Apply

Both Maryland and the District have child support guidelines. In the District, the guidelines apply if the combined family income is $240,000 or less. Therefore, if the wife makes $150,000, and the husband makes $50,000, the guidelines apply. The combined household income of $200,000 is within the guidelines limits.

In Maryland, the guidelines apply if the combined family income is $180,000 or less. Using the same facts, if the wife makes $150,000 and the husband makes $50,000, the guidelines won't apply. The combined household income of $200,000 is in excess of the guideline limits.

Duration of Support

In the District, child support is payable until age twenty one. (In contrast, the age of majority, when children are considered adults, is eighteen.)

In Maryland, child support is payable until age eighteen. However, if an eighteen-year-old child is still in high school, child support continues until that child graduates from high school or reaches the age of nineteen, whichever comes first. (A child reaches the age of majority in Maryland at age eighteen, whether or not that child is still in high school.)

College Expenses

Parties can always enter into a private contract for the payment and sharing of college expenses of their children. Such a contract is enforceable. But what if there is no private agreement?

A court in the District can order the payment of college expenses as part of child support. It can do so because support continues for a child until age twenty-one, and a child might be attending college between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one.

Generally, a court in Maryland cannot order a parent to pay any portion of college expenses, since support ends at age eighteen or graduation from high school. Virtually no children are enrolled in college before the age of eighteen.

 

This is not legal advice. Please read our "disclaimer" to understand why this information is not a substitute for legal advice.