Maryland Divorce Child Custody Support Guidelines Cecil County Separation

by admin on June 27, 2010

BRIAN K. BARE v. ABIGAIL BARE

No. 1783, September Term, 2008

COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS OF MARYLAND

2010 Md. App. LEXIS 69

Issues

Whether the trial court err in ordering Mr. Bare to pay, in addition to basic child support, one-half of the children’s “ordinary” medical expenses, i.e., expenses that do not qualify as extraordinary and are not otherwise covered by insurance?
Whether the trial court errs in admitting into evidence medical records and receipts covering the period after the Bares’ separation?

The Court held that the trial court erred in “ordering appellant to pay the standard amount of child support under the Guidelines in addition to all of the children’s unreimbursed medical expenses,” because it “stated no reasons for declining to split extra-ordinary medical expenses according to income, nor reasons for ordering appellant to pay any unreimbursed medical expenses not classified as extraordinary.

Pointing out that the statutory framework “makes it very clear that a departure from the Guidelines must be supported by the court’s written finding or a specific finding on the record stating the reasons for departure,” we held that trial court erred in “ordering appellant to pay the standard amount of child support under the Guidelines in addition to all of the children’s unreimbursed medical expenses,” because it “stated no reasons for declining to split extra-ordinary medical expenses according to income,  nor reasons for ordering appellant to pay any unreimbursed medical expenses not classified as extraordinary.” Although our decision rested on the court’s lack of explanation for allocating all medical expenses to one parent, our discussion makes it clear that any order requiring a parent to pay for ordinary medical expenses is an unauthorized departure from the guidelines unless the court finds special circumstances and explains on the record why such an award is appropriate, in the format specified by F.L. § 12-202(a)(2)(v).

The Court vacated the trial court order, concerning medical expenses in the divorce judgment and remand for additional proceedings to resolve the Bares’ claims with respect to past extraordinary medical expenses and to impose an appropriate order with respect to future extraordinary medical expenses.

Issue 2:

Whether the trial court errs in admitting into evidence medical records and receipts covering the period after the Bares’ separation?

The court held that “As a result of this appeal, and our remand, the parties will have ample opportunity to consider (and hopefully to resolve) which medical expenses qualify as extraordinary, and which do not.  If further evidentiary proceedings are required, Mr. Bare will have a fresh opportunity to challenge any medical receipts in light of our ruling, and subject to the rules of evidence relating to the introduction of documents and records.”

Judgment of the circuit court for Cecil county vacated as to orders relating to payment of ordinary medical expenses not covered by insurance; case remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion


About the Author:
The SRIS Law Group has offices in Montgomery County & Baltimore, Maryland.  The SRIS Law Group Maryland attorneys assist clients with divorces in Maryland & child custody in Maryland.
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