Raising a child is expensive, particularly if the non-custodial parent is not financially contributing to the support of the minor child(ren). Although both parents are legally obligated to support their child(ren) under Maryland law, it can be frustrating to continuously pursue the other parent for child support without success.
If you are not receiving the court-ordered financial support your child(ren) is entitled to, or if the non-custodial parent has accrued substantial child support arrears and is making no effort to pay them, consider contacting a skilled child support attorney. A Montgomery County child support enforcement lawyer can help you fight to collect back any arrearages that your child(ren) is entitled to.
Child Support Laws in Montgomery County
The goal of Maryland’s child support laws is to ensure that every child has the financial support they are rightfully entitled to from both parents. The child support system is also intended to help custodial parents avoid the necessity of relying on government assistance as a result of not receiving child support from the non-custodial parent.
Enforcing a Child Support Order
An attorney in Montgomery County can help a parent pursue any of the below legal options to enforce child support payments.
The Parent Locator Service
In cases where a non-custodial parent cannot be located, a custodial parent may utilize the federal government’s Parent Locator Service. This program pools the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service’s resources to find the non-custodial parent through their employment and other identifying information. Once found, the State or the parent may seek court assistance to collect current child support as well as any arrears. Federal and state law also permits a party to intercept tax refunds from the non-custodial parent and apply it to child support arrears.
A Court may also order the obligor’s employer to garnish their wages and apply those funds towards the obligor’s child support payments. The wage garnishment may direct payments to the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) or directly to the receiving parent.
Contempt of Court
A parent who is failing to pay the total amount of their monthly child support obligation or is consistently paying late may be in contempt of the Court’s child support order. Under these circumstances, a judge might order the parent to begin making timely payments to catch up on back payments by adding an additional amount to the current monthly child support obligation for the purpose of ensuring that child support arrearages are being paid. However, the parent in contempt might also be fined and incarcerated if the judge determines that the parent was able to but deliberately did not pay the support. A local lawyer can file a petition for contempt on the custodial parent’s behalf and represent them at the court hearing.
Criminal Prosecution for Nonpayment of Child Support
In extreme cases, a non-compliant parent may be prosecuted for non-payment of child support. The Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 (CSRA) makes the willful non-payment of child support a federal crime if the paying parent lives in a different state from the child and has past-due child support greater than $5000 or child support that has been unpaid for more than one year.
There are additional enforcement mechanisms that the CSEA might pursue against non-paying parents, including:
- Reporting them to the credit bureaus and prospective employers;
- Requesting that the MVA suspend their driver’s license;
- Requesting the suspension of professional licenses;
- Intercepting state lottery winnings to pay arrears;
- Garnishing bank accounts;
- Issuing liens on real or personal property and seizing assets to pay past-due support; and
- Denying the issuance of a passport.
While no one action can guarantee timely child support payments or the collection of all child support arrears, the combined efforts of the CSEA and an experienced Montgomery County lawyer can help a parent enforce payments and recover as much support as possible.
Consult a Montgomery County Child Support Enforcement Attorney
If you are struggling to secure child support from your child(ren)’s non-custodial parent, you are not alone. With the assistance of a Montgomery County child support enforcement lawyer, you may be able to hold the other parent accountable for the money they owe. Reach out to the firm for additional information today.