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Maryland family law and child support enforcement options

| Jul 14, 2020 | Child Support

When a Maryland couple parts ways, there are many legal issues to navigate. Since family law can be complex and acrimonious, it is important to understand what legal steps are available if one parent does not adhere to the terms of the divorce. A common source for dispute is if a parent who is ordered to pay child support fails to do so. The state has certain procedures it uses to enforce a child support order.

The Child Support Administration (CSA) can intercept a person’s tax return refund if they fail to pay their child support. This will happen if $150 or more is owed and unpaid and the amount owed – arrears – is as much or more than double what is owed per month. People might not be aware that there are other penalties that can be assessed and the negative impact it can have on their everyday lives.

A passport can be denied if the paying parent (the obligor) owes at least $2,500 in support. Driver’s licenses and professional licenses can also be suspended until the child support is paid. For those who are 60 days or more behind on their payments, a driver’s license may be suspended. The professional license suspension will come about if the person is 120 days or more behind. These licenses can be reinstated once the paying parent becomes current on what is owed. Wages can be withheld for a person who is newly employed or re-employed at a previous job. Assets can be garnished to pay the custodial parent.

Failure to pay child support can also harm a person’s credit score. This has a wide influence on their everyday lives. The credit bureau will be informed of a person’s delinquency if they are behind by 60 days or more. There may be a lien placed on personal property and assets can be seized to pay the support. People who have won the lottery can have the prize intercepted. Finally, the obligor can be held in contempt with the possibility of incarceration.

It is obviously preferable if the supporting parent makes the applicable payments on time and in full. In some instances, they do not follow the order and fall behind on what they owe. Penalties can be problematic. However, there may be personal challenges that arise and interfere with a person’s ability to pay. From the perspective of the custodial parent and the supporting parent, having legal advice may be needed to address these issues and find a workable solution before enforcement actions commence. Legal advice may be beneficial with this or any other family law matter.

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