Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

I filed for custody and child support for my three year old daughter. I had her father served by a county sheriff. The sheriff had to track him down and it did not occur until the last day she had to serve him. After the 30 days, he did not file an answer so I was told I could file for an order of default. I checked today and it states that the order of default was granted by the judge. My question at this point is what does this mean exactly? Will the judge allow him to continue on or will this go in my favor? We have a scheduling hearing set for next week but I am curious as to what I should prepare myself for or if this just means that the court will grant him more time to file an answer ? thank you

Asked on 7/29/13, 7:08 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

The default means that the father is technically, at least for the moment, not contesting your petition. However, if he shows up in court at the scheduling hearing and tells the master presiding over the hearing that he wants to contest either the custody or the amount of child support, the default will probably be set aside. But in either case you must be prepared to put on sufficient evidence at the final hearing to allow the judge determine an appropriate amount of child support. That means you must have some evidence of the father's monthly pre-tax income, since the incomes of the parents are the way the basic amount of child support is determined under MD law. If you have child care expenses, they also factor in, along with health insurance premiums for the child and any uninsured medical expenses for her. When you go to court, ask a clerk for the child support guidelines worksheet, which is also available on line from the Circuit Court website.

Both parties are instructed to bring recent pay stubs to the scheduling hearing, and if he shows up make sure you ask the court to require him to turn his over to you. If he doesn't appear and you know where the father works, you can subpoena his pay records from his employer.

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Answered on 7/30/13, 12:09 pm

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