Under Maryland law, every child has a right to receive support from both parents even if the parents are separated, divorced, or were never married. Child support can include monetary support, health care costs, past-due monetary support, or reimbursement.
If the parent obligated to make child support payments fails to pay, the other parent can go back to court or the Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) and request assistance collecting payment and enforcing the child support order.
CSEA has a number of legal options they can use to force delinquent parents to pay child support when they fall behind. The options include:
Federal Income Tax Refund Offset
If the parent obligated to pay child support accumulates $500 or more in unpaid child support, CSEA has the authority to intercept and withhold federal income tax refunds.
State Income Tax Refund Offset
If the parent obligated to pay child support accumulates $150 or more in unpaid child support, CSEA can intercept and withhold state income tax refunds.
Administrative Passport Denial
CSEA can deny a passport for parent owing $2,500 or more in past due support.
Driver’s License Suspension
If a parent is 60 days or more out of compliance, CSEA will refer the parent to the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the parent’s driver’s license will be suspended.
Professional License Suspension Program
If a parent is 120 days or more out of compliance, CSEA will refer the parent to the licensing authority for professional license suspension, and the parent’s professional license will be suspended.
New Hire Reporting
States are required to have a central registry where all employers must report newly hired or re-hired employees within 20 days of their first day of work. If an employee matches with the child support database, a wage withholding order is automatically sent to the employer.
Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM)
States must identify parents owing past-due child support through a financial institute database and garnish the parent’s financial assets.
Wage Withholding Orders
CSEA requires employers to withhold child support from the delinquent child support payors’ wages.
Credit Bureau Reporting
If a delinquent payor is 60 or more days past due, CSEA can report the delinquent payor’s account to a consumer credit reporting agency.
CSEA is authorized to issue a lien on real or personal property and seize assets to satisfy past-due child support requirements.
State Lottery Intercept
The CSEA can intercept and withhold lottery winnings for past due child support if the past-due amount is at least $150.
CSEA can petition for civil contempt, where a judge would make a determination regarding whether the non-custodial parent failed to pay child support but has the ability satisfy his or her obligation. Civil contempt may result in the delinquent party’s incarceration.
Medical Support Enforcement
CSEA can obtain and enforce medical support from either parent.
CSEA can collect unemployment insurance amounts for past-due and current child support.
Workers Compensation Commission (WCC)
CSEA can intercept and withhold Workers Compensation awards in order to satisfy past-due child support.
If you are the primary caregiver for your child, and the delinquent parent refuses to make child support payments, contact CSEA as soon as possible to request assistance.
If you are the paying parent, and are currently delinquent on your payments, don’t allow yourself to fall behind on payments. It is important that you get in touch with CSEA or a family lawyer, for advice about paying off your arrearages and potentially reducing your payments. If you ignore the problem and allow arrearages to build up, CSEA will take enforcement measures against you. Once the Child Support Enforcement Agency considers you a “deadbeat” parent, it is very difficult to undo the damage.