What Happens If You Fall Behind on Child Support in Maryland?
One of the most tumultuous parts of a divorce in Maryland can be child custody and child support. The state takes paying child support obligations very seriously, but sometimes life happens and you might find yourself or the other parent of your child unable to pay. What are your options if you or the other parent falls behind on child support in Maryland?
What Is Child Support in Maryland?
In the state of Maryland, both parents have a legal obligation to support their child to the best of their ability. Maryland has had official guidelines for calculating child support in place since 1990, and they take a variety of factors into account to determine how much a parent must pay. These guidelines are enforced unless one parent can show that the application of the formula would be unjust in their specific scenario. Courts are ultimately responsible for deciding child support in Maryland. You can integrate child support payments into a marital separation agreement, but the court is not required to hold up any agreement that waives child support.
What Is Included in a Child Support Order?
Most orders for child support in Maryland include multiple facets. The attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC can help guide you through each step of the process. In general, the order will:
- Require a direct cash or money payment to the custodial parent. While these payments are made to the custodial parent and not directly to the child, they are used to cover the direct costs of caring for the children, like rent, food, medical care and clothing.
- Give the court the authority to change the order. Child support orders can be changed in the future if conditions change substantially, but the court retains the authority to approve the changes.
- Stop payments when the child reaches the age of 18, dies or becomes emancipated.
It’s also important to remember that child support can be more than just direct financial support. One parent could be ordered to keep their child as a beneficiary on their life insurance policy or cover a certain percentage of medical costs. One parent could be responsible for covering the cost of daycare, or one parent could foot the bill for transportation to visit the other parent. Child support in Maryland is versatile, which is why it’s so important to work with the attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC to get strong language in your order.
What Happens If You or the Other Parent Fall Behind on Child Support in Maryland?
If you fail to pay or fail to pay on time, the Office of Child Support Enforcement can take a range of actions in response. Some of these actions include:
- Requesting that the court hold you in contempt, which could lead to prison time
- Garnishing wages from unemployment, worker’s compensation or employment income
- Garnishing checking and savings accounts where your name is attached, including accounts that are held jointly with another person
- Intercepting state or federal income tax refunds
- Intercepting lottery winnings
- Reporting the non-payment of child support to the three credit bureaus, which can lower your credit score
- Reporting the non-payment to the MVA, which could eventually lead to license suspension
- And more!
If you find yourself unable to pay for child support in Maryland, it is important to be proactive and work to re-negotiate the amount. If you merely do not pay, the consequences can be very serious.
Assistance With Child Support in Maryland from The Attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC
Whether you are searching for an experienced lawyer to assist with your divorce, negotiating child support in Maryland or other issues, The attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC can help. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today at (410) 324-3267.