WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR EX-SPOUSE WON’T PAY CHILD SUPPORT
FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY IN MARYLAND
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR EX-SPOUSE WON’T PAY CHILD SUPPORT
It can feel like the battle is over once the court rules in your favor regarding child support. Unfortunately, the enforcement of child support can be challenging. What is a parent to do if an ex-spouse fails or refuses to pay the child support they have been ordered to give? If you find yourself in this situation, contact a Maryland child support attorney immediately.
Child Support Enforcement Administration
The state of Maryland has a specific agency for the enforcement of court-ordered child support. You can contact the Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) if the noncustodial parent fails to pay the court-ordered child support. The CSEA is tasked with the tracking and enforcement of child support payments and is able to collect ongoing or past-due child support payments through various methods. Some methods the CSEA can use include but is not limited to:
- Garnishing wages – the CSEA can withhold child support payments from wages or unemployment benefits, taking them directly out of the check before it reaches the individual. They can even take money from workers’ compensation benefit checks as well as other sources of income.
- Tax refunds – state and federal
- Lottery winnings
- Credit reports – the CSEA can and will report parents who are past-due on child support to the credit bureaus, possibly affecting their credit score
- License suspension – Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Association is obligated to follow orders from the CSEA, which can request license suspension of an individual who is 60 or more days late on a child support payment. The CSEA determines when the suspension is to be lifted.
- Occupational license suspension – when a child support payment is 120 or more days late, the CSEA can have the individual’s occupational license suspended until payment is made in full or in court-ordered installments for four months.
- Passport denial – when the obligor owes $2500 or more in past-due child support, the CSEA can have a request for a new or renewed passport denied.
While these tools can certainly be powerful and effective, the CSEA is a government agency and thus can move quite slowly and requires a lot of legwork. The CSEA charges a fee to open your case and can be contacted at 1-800-332-6347. In order to get faster results, it may be a good idea to seek out legal representation from an experienced Maryland child support attorney.
Family Law Attorneys
An experienced Maryland child support attorney has several tools he or she can use in the court of law to bring action on your past-due child support payments. These tools include:
Motion to Compel
Filing a motion to compel can be done at any point the other parent is behind payments. This motion requests that additional payments are added to the basic monthly Child Support Order that is already established. These additional payments are supposed to make up for the ones that have been missed. The court typically orders up to 25% additional monthly payments if it can be determined that the parent who owes money is technically capable of making the payments. The court may also order that payments are garnished from wages or other methods of income.
Earnings Withholding Order
Garnishing wages can be directly requested to a judge if the other parent is 30 or more days late in paying support. If successful, this request results in an order to the parent’s employer to withhold the amount of child support directly from the parent’s pay and send these funds either directly to the owed parent or to the CSEA. This method is obviously only useful if the other parent has a job with a steady income and is not self-employed.
Motion for Judgement
This request asks the court to make a judgement against the owing parent for the sum owed. If the court passes a judgement stating the other parent owes a certain amount, steps can be taken to forcibly take this sum by seizing certain types of property or assets.
Motion for Contempt
This is a very serious motion that asks the court to find the non paying parent in contempt of the court. This means that the parent that owes child support has purposefully violated a court order by refusing to pay the child support the court declared was to be paid. This can include if the parent purposefully made it so he or she could not make payments by losing their job or otherwise impoverishing themselves.
Being found in contempt of the court is a very serious offense that can result in heavy finds or even incarceration. Someone who is found in contempt of the court may lose his or her job, have their driver’s license suspended, etc.
There are several ways in which a parent who is owed child support can seek to have those payments made. Speaking with an experienced Maryland child support attorney can help you understand your options and get you the payments you are owed quickly.
CALL A MARYLAND CHILD SUPPORT ATTORNEY TODAY FOR YOUR FAMILY LEGAL MATTERS
Family legal matters can be a very stressful and troubling topic for divorced couples, especially if children are involved. The Burton Law Firm understands how crucial it is to ensure legal matters are set up with the children in mind. Give us a call at (301) 420-5540 to speak to a Maryland child support attorney immediately.
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Contact our office as soon as possible so our team of Family Law attorneys can properly evaluate your case and protect your rights.