Child support hearing form on a desk.

It is the responsibility of both parents to support a child financially. When one parent fails to pay his or her share of the costs, it often falls to the other parent to make up the difference. Fortunately, the state of Maryland has established a host of options for enforcing child support orders. The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) has the task of enforcing state and federal child support enforcement laws.

During the divorce proceeding, or when paternity has been established for unmarried couples, the court orders child support payments based on the Maryland child support guidelines. When the obligor (the parent who owes child support to the other parent) fails to pay child support as ordered by the court, there are a number of tools in place to enforce those payments. Some of the more common include:

  • Intercepting federal income tax refunds
  • Wage garnishment, and withholding child support payments from unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation claims
  • Report parents who owe child support to new employers, and to the motor vehicles division for driver’s license suspension
  • Suspension of professional licenses
  • Contempt of court
  • Administrative liens on real estate or other personal property and seizure of assets

Obtaining an administrative property lien for unpaid child support

The custodial parent who is owed back child support can work with their skilled Maryland divorce attorney to file a lien on the obligor’s real estate. Per MD Fam L Code § 10-140 (2016), “Unpaid child support, due under an order requiring payments through a support enforcement agency, constitutes a lien in favor of the obligee on all real and personal property of the obligor… A child support lien established under subsection (a) of this section arises on the date of notice that the support is due and continues to the date on which the child support lien is:

  1. satisfied
  2. released by the Administration because the child support lien is:
    1. unenforceable; or
    2. uncollectible; or
  3. released by the court.”

Caring for and providing for your child on your own can be challenging and frustrating when your child’s other parent has the resources but chooses not to pay the support they owe their child. Do not allow your frustration to ruin your enjoyment of the time you have with your child. An experienced family law attorney can help you move through the proper channels to recover the back-child support that is owed to you.

If you are a parent who is owed back child support, your Maryland family law attorney from the law firm of Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC is here to help you with a host of child support enforcement options. Our Annapolis family law team is here to protect your child’s and your interests, and offer legal advice about your support case. We invite you to call 410.921.2422, or to contact us to schedule a consultation today.