Child Support for Multiple Children from Multiple Relationships
There’s perhaps no joy greater than welcoming a child to your family; however, when your children are split up over several households and relationships, things can become a little complicated and expensive. Having children without being married or having children with your spouse and then divorcing is likely to leave you having to pay child support if you are the non-custodial parent.
Deciding on the proper amount to pay for children in one former relationship can be stressful enough, determining how much to pay for several children over many relationships can be a costly headache. While it is important (and generally legally required) to pay child support, when considering having children under these certain circumstances, you should consider whether you are financially able to handle the multiple child support payments, whether or not you are willing to deal with the legal hassle, and whether you can provide the time and attention each of your children need.
Nick Cannon’s $3 million child support payments
It has recently been revealed that The Masked Singer host, Nick Cannon, pays $3 million annually for his 11 children. (Not long after that piece was published, he announced the impending birth of child #12.) Actually, the singer claims that he pays “a lot more” than that on his children. It appears that Cannon is not paying this child support through the legal system, as he does not “plan to ever have to participate in the governmental system of child,” he states. Cannon must be paying an acceptable amount already for the mothers of his children to not be heading off to get a court order to legally require him to pay a certain amount.
For most who have had a few divorces with multiple children spanning over several relationships, they are legally required to pay child support as a part of their divorce agreement. Custody is also usually determined at this time as well, either by the parents themselves, or through the courts by a judge. So how does the state of Maryland decide on the amount of child support, and how does that change when multiple children are involved?
What are the different methods of calculating child support?
When it comes to calculating basic child support amounts, it varies from state to state, though most states use the income share method. The other most common method used is the percentage of income method, which is currently only used by six states: Alaska, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. The percentage of income method uses a flat percentage rate based on the noncustodial parent’s income to pay for child support.
With the income share model, “the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents’ combined income.”
If you are already paying child support for another child you have, this amount will be subtracted from your income. This is known as your adjusted actual income.
How is child support determined in Maryland?
If you have not previously agreed with your spouse on a set amount to be paid for child support, then the court will determine the amount itself. There are several factors that come into play for the judge when considering the amount. According to the People’s Law Library of Maryland, the steps the court takes to determine the amount of child support to be paid are as follows:
- Figure out each parent’s actual income.
- Figure out each parent’s adjusted actual income or imputed income.
- Add up both parents’ adjusted actual incomes or their imputed incomes. The combined amount is plugged into the Guidelines chart to determine the “basic child support obligation.”
- Factor in some additional expenses, including health insurance costs, daycare costs, and extraordinary medical expenses as well as factor in the “self-support reserve,” which is an adjustment ensuring that the parent paying child support maintains a minimum amount of monthly income, after payment of child support and certain taxes, of at least 100% of the Federal poverty level for an individual. This generates the “total child support obligation.”
From these steps, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying a percentage of the total child support obligations (Maryland statute §12–204).
For each child you have, the amount of child support you pay per child increases by a multiplication of one and a half. Therefore, if you make more than $15,000 a month, the statute states, “If the combined adjusted actual income exceeds the highest level specified in the schedule in subsection (e) of this section, the court may use its discretion in setting the amount of child support.”
Why you need a Columbia child support attorney
As we can see, it can get complicated and costly when supporting several children from multiple marriages, and unless you and your spouse can come to an agreement through the divorce process, the court will follow the steps and guidelines of the law to determine an amount for you. Whether you are the one required to pay child support or the one who is in need of child support, it is important that you contact a child support attorney.
The experienced Columbia family law attorneys at McCabe & Russell can work with you to come to an arrangement that is fair to both parties, and what is also in the best interest of your child or children. That latter point is what is most important throughout all of the proceedings. Your child deserves to live a happy, healthy, and safe life; they should not have to suffer or see a loss of quality in living when their parents divorce.
At McCabe & Russell, we consider the whole family when it comes to matters of child support. Our team will not only make you and your children our priority, but we will work to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved. To schedule a consultation, call us or use our contact page. We want to help you through this stressful time, and our team of lawyers will offer our expertise that we have used to help clients throughout Columbia, Rockville, Fulton, and Bethesda.
Heather is the firm’s managing partner and divorce law guru. Heather knows all the ins and outs of divorce in Maryland and DC, and she knows exactly what to do to put her clients in a position to accomplish their goals.
Find out more about Heather McCabe