Family & Juvenile Law Section “Top 10’s”

Ten Tips For Child Support Hearings
By Craig J. Little, Esquire

  1. 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.
  2. Provide all documents to opposing side prior to trial, such as child care receipts, cost of health care, income information, tutoring costs, etc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!!
  10. Bring at least four copies of each document you intent to admit as evidence to court.