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.”
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