Who Must Pay Child Support in a Maryland Divorce

Child Support Collection Forms

An Order is outstanding for Child Support and it is not being paid and you want to collect.

DR. 2, Petition for Contempt (Failure to Pay Child Support)
DR. 51,
Request for Master's Hearing
DR. 53,
Show Cause Order

A parent who is separated or divorced from his or her spouse and has custody of the children is entitled to support from other spouse for the children.

Q. I Want to Hire An Attorney to Help Me Enforce Child Support, But I Don't Have the Money. What Do I Do?

A. Many states now require a court to order the nonpaying parent to pay the attorneys fees and costs incurred in child support enforcement actions. Thus, ask the attorney you plan to hire whether he or she will defer the fee and obtain it from the nonpaying parent. Some attorneys will do this, or permit you to make monthly payments while pursuing the nonpaying parent. Others will require up-front payment in full and will reimburse you if the fees are subsequently paid by the nonpaying parent pursuant to court order.

If you are representing yourself, you can apply to the child support enforcement agency in your county for assistance in establishing and collecting child support. By applying for assistance and paying a $20.00 the child support agency will represent you as the custodial parent in a child support proceeding, irrespective of your income.

Maryland law recognizes mandatory income withholding in every child support and alimony order. The law's procedures are triggered by non-payments amounting to more than thirty (30) days of support. The law provides that the supporting parent's employer can withhold from his or her paycheck a court-ordered amount and forward it to the support recipient.

The law is intended to assist an individual, who wishes to pursue support enforcement as a pro litigant (representing yourself), or with the assistance of the Child Support Enforcement Administration. As soon as payments are in arrears for 30 days, the recipient can file in court for the withholding of the other parent's wages.

A person who refused to pay child support, after being ordered by a court, also is liable to be held in contempt and could have bank accounts attached, income tax refunds withheld, and lose there driver's license.

Q. How Long Do I Have to Enforce the Child Support Order? How long may I receive child support. How Long Do I Have to Enforce the Child Support Order?

A. Usually you can enforce a child support order for up to 10 years. Parents are obligated to pay child support until a child reaches the age of 18. In some circumstances, a parent may be obligated to support a disabled adult child.

Q. Can I Collect Interest on Unpaid Support?

A. Yes, at the legal rate set by state.

Q. Is There Anything I Can Do to Enforce My Child Support If My Former Spouse Moves Out of State?

A. In addition to the remedies mentioned above, the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA) permits you to complain to your local district attorney about unpaid support or the local child support agency. The office will then contact the district attorney in the locale where the nonpaying child supporter lives. That office, in turn, will bring an action to enforce the order on your behalf. You can also register the child support order with the court in the state where the child support payor lives and then apply directly to that state for enforcement of the order.

Q. My Ex-spouse Is Going Bankrupt and Owes Me $5,000 in Back Support. Am I Out of Luck?

A. For the time being maybe, but not for the long run. Child support orders are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. (In fact, if your ex gets out from under the crush of debts, he or she may be more likely to pay you. At the very least, you won't be competing with a hoard of other creditors for the few dollars that may be available.)

Q. My Former Spouse Has Stopped Paying Support? I Don't Want to Hurt His Feelings By Going to Court. Am I Making a Mistake?

A. Enforcement of child support orders are best done early rather than late. If there is good cause to reduce payments, an agreement can be made. However, if the parent is merely making excuses, taking immediate and tough action to enforce the court order will be most likely to convince the nonpaying parent that failure to pay will have serious consequences. Moreover, if the amount owed (arrears ) get too high, the nonpaying parent may never have the ability to pay it all back.

Q. How Long Does It Usually Take to Enforce an Order of Support From a Nonpaying Parent?

A. Parents who refuse to pay child support are merely the tip of the iceberg of a growing problem in the United States of family discord and breakdown. It can take from 60 days to one year to enforce a court order for support, depending on whether the spouse can be located.

Q. How can the amount of child support be modified?

A. If there is a change in circumstances amounting to an increase or decrease in a parent's income, or in the expense of raising the children, the court may modify the child support obligation, If, according, the Guidelines, the child support would change by at least 25% the Court will generally modify the amount of child support.

Q. If I remarry, must I still pay child support? If I remarry, may I still receive child support?

A. If a parent remarries, and even if that parent has more children, he or she still pay must pay child support to the children of the first marriage. If a person is receiving child support and remarries, he or she is still entitled to receive child support unless his or her new spouse adopts the child.

Q. In a joint custody situation, may either parent still receive child support?

A. Yes. The amount of child support will depend upon the amount of time each parent spends with the child as well as the parents' incomes and the expense of raising the child.

Q. Can the court order health insurance coverage?

A. The court has the authority to require either parent to name a child in the parent's health insurance coverage if the parent can obtain heath insurance coverage through an employer or any form of group health insurance, and the child can be included at a reasonable cost to the parent in that health insurance coverage. An order requiring health insurance coverage for a child may be issued a separate from or in conjunction with an earnings withholding order.

Q. Do I Have to pay child support to my first family?

A: Even though the other parent has a second family, it does not mean that his or her responsibility to the first family goes away. However, the amount of the support order can be affected because he/she has the responsibility for supporting another child(ren). You must be notified first and given an opportunity to provide information before your support order can be changed.

Q:    The   other parent      is    in    jail. Can   I     get   support?

A: Unless he/she has assets, like property or income from an outside source or from a workrelease program, it is unlikely that support can be collected until he/she gets out of jail and receives income      or    acquires    property.

Answers to commonly asked questions about when a parent must pay child support.

Is a father who never married the mother still required to pay child support?

The short answer to this question is yes. When a mother is not married, however, it's not always clear who the father is. An "acknowledged father" is any biological father of a child born to unmarried parents for whom paternity has been established by either the admission of the father or the agreement of the parents. Acknowledged fathers are required to pay child support.

Additionally, a man who never married the child's mother may be presumed to be the father if he welcomes the child into his home and openly holds the child out as his own. In some states, the presumption of paternity is considered conclusive, which means it cannot be disproved, even with contradictory blood tests.

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Is a stepparent obligated to support the children of the person to whom he or she is married?

No, unless the stepparent legally adopts the children.

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Do I have to pay child support if my ex keeps me away from my kids?

Yes. Child support should not be confused with custody and visitation. Every parent has an obligation to support his or her children. With one narrow exception, no state allows a parent to withhold support because of disputes over visitation. The exception? If the custodial parent disappears for a lengthy period so that no visitation is possible, a few courts have ruled that the non-custodial parent's duty to pay child support may be considered temporarily suspended.

No matter what the circumstances, if you believe that your ex is interfering with your visitation rights, the appropriate remedy is to go back to court to have your rights enforced rather than to stop making support payments.

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