Family & Juvenile
Law Section “Top 10’s”
Ten Tips For Child Support Hearings
By Craig J. Little, Esquire
- You must present not only your client’s income, but the
opposing party’s income as well. You should present
your client’s income, as well as the opposing side’s
income, by producing wage statements, tax returns, and if necessary
bank statements. A great way to check the opposing party’s
income is to subpoena bank records and add up a year’s worth
of deposits! Make sure you send your subpoena for wage and banking
information at least 45 days in advance of trial and include a
certificate of the custodian as required under the Maryland rules. As
soon as you receive the documents, supply them to the opposing
side so that they are admissible as business records. Remember
that trial subpoenas for bank records or credit card statements
must be served on the other side.
- Provide all documents to opposing side prior to trial, such as
child care receipts, cost of health care, income information, tutoring
- Make sure you have documents supporting the cost for medical
insurance for the minor children. Often parties will have
Family Coverage. Obtain information relating to the cost
of single coverage versus family so that the court may consider
the cost of coverage for the children.
- Keep abreast of what is happening in the legislature for the
Maryland Child Support Guidelines. There is a proposal to
increase the Guideline matrix which will reduce the need to “extrapolate” the
Guidelines. Tell your state legislators to pass the
new Child Support Guidelines!!
- If the combined wages are above $10,000 per month, you must file
the LONG financial form. The Financial Statement must be
filed with the initial pleading, or amended and filed with the
court 10 days before trial.
- You cannot impute income to a parent taking
care of a child OF THAT RELATIONSHIP under two years old as it
is not considered voluntary impoverishment.
- Paying child support through the state is now the RULE not the
EXCEPTION!If you intend to have income garnished from wages,
make sure you have your client open a child support account as
soon as possible. Also, it doesn’t hurt to do the
Earnings Withholding Order for your client simultaneously with
the entry of the Support Order.
- When trying a Child Support Case it is a good practice to have
Child Support Worksheets to submit to the court. Remember
you must always submit a Child Support Worksheet at an uncontested
divorce hearing or things may get held up.
- Don’t forget the new rule regarding the inclusion of “Cash
Medical Support,” funds for the payment of health insurance
and medical costs not covered by health insurance for Title IV,
Part D child support orders. See Maryland Family Law Article
12-102 (a)(6) and Maryland Rule of Procedure 9-206 in your supplements!!
- Bring at least four copies of each document you intent to admit
as evidence to court.