What Can Happen to a Parent Who is Late on Child Support?

When a Maryland parent responsible for paying child support fails to fulfill his or her payment obligations, the Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration can take action. The way the administration acts, though, is likely to differ depending on the situation. For example, if the administration sees that the parent is financially unable to meet the obligations, it will work with the parent to try and overcome the challenges. On the other hand, if the administration finds that the parent is purposefully avoiding payments in spite of having the financial capacity to pay, it will aggressively pursue legal claims against the parent.

Different laws provide the CSEA with a variety of tools it can employ in cases where child support payments are overdue. For one, federal and state laws allow the CSEA to intercept and obtain the federal income tax refunds of delinquent child support payers who owe $500 or more. The late-paying parent will receive a notice 30 days prior to the tax refund’s interception. Meanwhile, the person who allegedly owes money will have the right to request that an investigation be carried out by his or her local child support agency prior to the interception taking place. Similarly, the Maryland CSEA can intercept state income tax refunds for payers who are behind by $150 or more.

In other cases, the CSEA has the right to deny the issuance of passports to those who are behind on child support by $2,500 or more. Once the overdue amount is paid, the individual will have his or her passport suspension removed. Similarly, driver’s licenses can be suspended if a parent is overdue by as few as 60 days. After the overdue amount is paid, the parent will have his or her driving privileges reinstated. A wide variety of other means are also available to the CSEA for child support enforcement purposes, such as wage withholding, administrative liens on real estate property, asset seizure, lottery winnings interception, and others.

When a Maryland resident is late paying his or her child support, serious legal consequences can result. Parents who are owed support do not have to sit idly by and hope that one day they will be paid. Legal assistance is available to remedy the situation. Whether one is owed or owes child support money, knowing one’s legal options is always important.

Source: Maryland Department of Human Resources, “Child Support Enforcement Tools” Aug. 25, 2014