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Do you have an above the guidelines child support matter? Another case to consider

Bagley remains precedent in “above-the-guidelines” cases

Bagley v. Bagley, 98 Md. App. 18 (1993)

In Bagley, the Court of Special Appeals was asked to review the findings and recommendations of a Domestic Relations Master which were adopted by the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. This case, like Voishan and your current case, was an above-the-guidelines case as the father of the parties’ minor children recorded an annual income of over $507,360.  The master made the recommendation that the father pay $2,722 in child support per month; this recommendation was subsequently adopted by the trial court.

The CSA first established that an accurate application of the child support guidelines works to maintain a child’s standard of living as if the parents had not been divorced.  In order to assist in the determination of a child support obligation in an above-the-guidelines case, the CSA developed a list of considerations that should “circumscribe and guide the trial judge’s discretion.”  The considerations include: “1) the purpose of the Income Shares Model underlying the guidelines, i.e., maintain the children at the same standard of living they would have enjoyed absent the parties’ divorce; 2) the financial circumstances of each party; 3) each party’s station in life; 4) the age and physical condition of the parties; 5) the costs of educating the child; 6) the need for consistency of support awards; 7) the maximum in the schedule is the minimum for combined incomes above the schedule; and 8) the result of extrapolation from the schedule.”  The CSA concluded its analysis by determining that the Bagley children are “entitled to every expense reasonable” for a child with income relative to their fathers,  and the trial judge should be “cognizant that a child’s needs, like an adult’s, increase proportionally with their opportunity to participate in educational, cultural, and recreational activities” which “builds upon itself creating new opportunities.”

For more information on Maryland divorce and child support matters contact an experienced divorce attorney.