Maine Child Support Laws
When two people have a child together, the law states that they are both equally responsible for the costs and care of the child. When the parents separate, they will have to determine who will be responsible for what share of these responsibilities. This is called child support and any couple with children should understand their rights when it comes to financially supporting their family. Child support guidelines for the state are written under Maine Revised Statutes Title 19-A, Chapter 63.
Generally, after a divorce or break-up of a family, one parent will care for the child the majority of the time. This person is called the primary care giver. This is the parent who will care for the child on a daily basis and provide the residence that they sue to attend school. The other parent can still have decision making rights and be granted ample visitation, but they will likely be responsible for paying child support to the primary care provider.
Calculating Child Support in Maine
In order to determine how much child support should be paid, the court uses an income shares model which estimates the amount of money that should be spent on each child by a family. It then divides that amount based on the each parents' income. Parents' income is determined by actions taken under section 2004 wherein parents must submit affidavits regarding income and assets. The court may also look at the Department of Labor Statistics in order to compute parental support obligations.
Under Maine law section 2006, child support guidelines are based on adding both parents' incomes together to find their annual gross income. Section 2006.1 states:
When there is a child within each age category, the court or hearing officer shall refer to the table and locate the figure in the left-hand column that is closest to the parents' combined annual gross income. In each age category the court or hearing officer shall determine the dollar figure for the total number of children for whom support is being determined, multiply the dollar figure in each age category by the number of children in that category and add the 2 products. The resulting dollar amount represents the basic support entitlement.
This basic support entitlement is then added to child care costs, health insurance premiums and extraordinary medical expenses in order to find the total basic support obligation. This number is then divided between parents in a proportion that relates to their gross income. For example, if one parent makes twice as much as the other, their obligation will be twice as high.
The parent who does not provide primary residential care to the child or children will be obligated to pay the primary residential care provider the amount determined. The primary residential care giver will not have to pay any specific amount as it is assumed that they will be paying the remainder of the child's expenses from their own pocket. If a relative or a third-party is the primary residential caregiver, both parents will be responsible for paying support.
Modifying a Child Support Order in Maine
According to section 2009 of Maine law, an existing child support order can be modified by a party filing a motion. This motion can be requested by either parent if substantial change of circumstances has occurred. This is defined under Maine law as when the order for child support varies more than 15% from the obligation the child support guidelines calls for. If it has been more than 3 years since the order was issued or last modified, the court can review and modify the request without requiring proof that circumstances have changed.
Additionally, if one party fails to pay their child support as determined by the court, the obligee can enforce their right to collect support. Often, this will include past support and attorney's fees. For more information, call our office at (207) 571-8146.
Call a Maine Child Support Lawyer Now
If you are facing divorce and a child or children are involved, make sure you understand your child support rights. Whether you are the primary care provider or not, a divorce lawyer can help you get the results you need. At WTB Law, we work to help clients resolve conflicts as quickly as possible in a way that benefits all parties. Our family law attorneys can help you establish a child support case, modify an existing order or enforce an existing order. Call us now to find out more.