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Can the Court Order College Contributions as Part of Child Support?
In Maryland, the Court cannot order either parent to contribute towards college expenses of a child, since the obligation to pay child support terminates when the child attains age 18 (unless the child is enrolled in high school, then until the child graduates from high school or attains age 19, whichever is first).
However, if parents have a written Agreement to contribute to college expenses of a child, the Court will enforce the terms of that Agreement.
In addition, if the child support order was originally established in another state, the laws of that state, rather than Maryland, will control when child support terminates and the extent to which college contributions are required.
For example, in the District of Columbia, child support terminates when a child attains age 21, without any obligation to pay for college. Therefore, an obligor parent residing in Maryland with a child support order originally established in the District of Columbia must pay child support until the child attains age 21.
Under Maryland law, child support is determined based on the Income Shares Model. Therefore the monthly support amount for the child is proportionally shared between the two parents based on their incomes, past W-2s, and child support worksheets. One parent will then pay the other parent his or her share of child support. Considerations will also be made for existing debt, property settlement, mortgages, other children or any other financial considerations.
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