Maness remains precedent in above the guidelines cases.
Maness v. Sawyer, 108 Md. App. 295 (2008).
In Maness, the Court of Special Appeals, again, reviewed an above-the-guidelines case. The father’s monthly actual income was $7,833 and the mother’s monthly actual income was $8,333, totaling a combined monthly income of $16,166. This combined monthly income was beyond the $10,000 ceiling for the Maryland Child Support Guidelines at the time under Md. Family Law Code Ann. § 12-204(e), therefore, judicial discretion was used in the calculation of the child support obligation in accordance with Md. Family Law Code Ann. § 12-204(d). The trial court ordered the father to pay $1,203 per month in child support.
The father argued that the trial court abused its discretion when it allegedly failed to take into consideration the parties’ large debts at the time. The CSA concluded that no abuse of discretion occurred as the trial judge considered the debts of the parties and made a child support determination that ensured the children would not suffer due to the lack of financial control the parents had. “If, in order to meet their obligations to their children, one or both parents had to buckle down to a more rigorous financial discipline or even to forego other seemingly important expenditures, so be it.” Further, the father argued that he should not have been ordered to pay for a portion of his children’s private school tuition. The CSA quickly did away with this argument, because it was the parties, not the court, who decided to send the children to private school. Ultimately, the CSA affirmed the trial court’s ruling and order.
For more information on Maryland divorce and child support matters contact an experienced divorce attorney.