Child support is designed to help cover your children’s basic needs. This sounds simple, but anyone who has paid child support knows it can get complicated quickly. When you’re the one paying child support, you may wonder what it’s used for, especially if you feel the amount determined for you to pay is unfair.
First, let’s review how child support is determined in the state of Maryland as it can differ from state-to-state. Maryland uses an income-share model to determine the amount of child support, taking into consideration both parents’ income, health insurance expenses, child care expenses and more. Whether or not you live in Maryland, these rules may apply to you if the child lives in the state.
What can child support be used for?
There are a few things that will always be approved child support expenses.
- Educational expenses. You and your ex-spouse may send your children to private school. Child support payments can pay for tuition, school uniforms and any supplementary materials. Your former spouse may also hire a private tutor or pay for extracurricular activities. Additionally, you may expect each of your children to attend college. Child support can provide funding for secondary education.
- Travel to see parents. If your ex-spouse moved to a different state after the divorce, your children likely need to travel to see you. Child support can help pay for airline tickets. If your children need additional luggage, their other parent can use the support payments to purchase this.
Child support orders can be very flexible, and will sometimes include these directions within the order itself. If directions like you directly paying a cost are not included in your child support order, you should make your payment as normal through the Maryland Child Support Administration to avoid not receiving credit.
As your children get older, their needs may change. In Maryland, you can request that your child support order be reviewed if circumstances change, or if it’s been at least three years since the order was made. Changes in circumstances may include income change or change in childcare or school costs. For instance, your son or daughter may decide to attend a high school where the tuition may be more costly than prior schooling, or your health insurance may increase or decrease in price. This allows you to ensure that your children have access to all the resources they need.