Enforcing Child Support
A child support order is as enforceable as any other court judgment or decree. A parent who is owed child support can use each and every legal tool available to enforce the order, including wage garnishments, wage assignments, contempt of court decrees and the seizure of the non-payor's property by writ of execution.
may hide from the custodial parent in order to avoid their child support obligation. They may even go so far as to move out of state to avoid their responsibilities.
In order to fix this problem, the federal government has created the Parent Locator Service (The law also requires the states to establish a Parent Locator Services). The law allows you to use the resources of the federal government (including the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service) to locate a nonpaying parent's employer. Once found, the custodial parent or the state can enforce the child support order and collect unpaid support recovering support from tax refunds. The law also permits the IRS to pay past due child support from tax refunds that the nonpaying parent is due from the government.
For more information on the Parent Locator Service, contact the local office of the Department of Health and Human Services.The employer will deduct child support like any other deduction from the paying parent's paycheck and send the money directly to the custodial parent. If the nonpaying parent holds a steady job, this is a very valuable tool.
A child support order can be enforced just like other court judgments. The court can seize assets of the nonpaying parent such as real property, bank accounts, stock, a paid-off car or other property. If you want to try this method of enforcing child support, it is a good idea to find an experienced attorney or seek help through the Child Support Enforcement Administration.
If you choose to go forward on your own, you should be aware that the Maryland Court Rules provide a wide variety of means to execute on judgments. You will see that the language and the procedures may be unfamiliar to you which is why finding legal help is important.
If you are not successful obtaining the property using the methods described above, you have other choices. For example, Rule 2-645 provides for the garnishment of property of the judgment debtor. Generally a writ of garnishment is used when a third party is holding property of the judgment debtor (no-paying parent). The rule states when the writ may be filed and what information shall be included in the writ. Rule 2-645 also describes how you must notify the other side and requires the person making service to mail a copy of the writ to the judgment debtor's last known address. Rule 2-646 governs the garnishment of wages of a judgment debtor. When seeking to execute a judgment, you should also review Rules 2-647-2-651 and research the cases listed in the rules.In addition to the methods of securing a wage lien offered in the Maryland Rules, the General Assembly has passed laws to assist recipients of support to collect the funds due them from parents ordered to pay child support.
s/he can be jailed for contempt of court. The civil contempt action is brought by the custodial parent. The court clerk will have the proper forms. After that, the nonpaying parent will have to be notified (served with process) since he or she has the Constitutional right to appear at the hearing and present a defense. If the nonpaying parent is served and does not appear, the trial court will order a bench warrant issued for his or her arrest.
If the court (finds beyond a reasonable doubt) that the parent has willfully failed to pay valid child support order, the court can order the nonpaying parent jailed. (A parent showing that they did not have the ability to pay will not be found in contempt of court, however s/he will continue to owe the money.)
Often, the mere threat of jail is sufficient to pry open the non-paying parent's pocketbook. However, in severe cases, parents will be jailed. Sometimes the jail sentence will end only when the proper payment has been made.
laws on the books to punish parents who refuse to pay their child support. Maryland law says a parent is required to support his/her child. Md. Fam. L. Code Ann. �10-203(a). A person who violates the law may be fined up to $100 and/or imprisoned for up to 3 years. Md. Fam. L. Coe Ann. �10-203(c).
The state Child Support Enforcement Administration tries to track down parents who owe child support and get them to pay. Md. Fam. L. Code Ann. �10-322(b). If you want help from the Child Support Enforcement Administration to collect overdue child support, you can call 1-800-332-6347 and tell the person who answers that you want to open a child support account. The agency will mail you a form to fill out and will tell you how to make an appointment to see someone in your local child support enforcement bureau. More information is available on the Maryland Department of Human Resources Child Support Program website.
Your local child support enforcement office will forward information about your case to the child support unit of the local State's Attorney's office. If you do not have court-ordered child support, the State's Attorney will get a court order that the non-paying parent must pay. The Child Support Enforcement Administration will the enforce the order, and may take action such as contacting the non-paying parent's employer to have child support withheld from paychecks. If all the Administration's efforts fail, the Administration will refer your case to the local State's Attorney's office for criminal prosecution. If the defendant (non-paying parent) is found guilty, he or she may be jailed or the guilty parent may be put on probation and allowed to remain free if he or she pays all back child support and makes all future payments in a timely manner.
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