What Can You Do if Your Ex-Spouse Does Not Pay Child Support?

What Can You Do if Your Ex-Spouse Does Not Pay Child Support? In Maryland, both parents are legally obligated to provide for their children financially. The courts are not concerned with the marital status of the parents; if you have a child, then the responsibility falls on your shoulders. There are serious consequences for parents who fail to pay court-ordered child support, and we will look at some of them in today’s blog post.

The federal agency Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) says that they collaborate with federal, state, tribal and local governments and others to promote parental responsibility so that children receive support from both parents, even when they live in separate households. When a parent fails to pay their child support obligation and their account is in arrears, the OCSE can get involved with any or all the following child support enforcement measures:

  • Contempt of court. The receiving parent can request that the court hold the obligor (parent who owes support) in contempt for not paying child support. A parent who fails to pay child support can be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail, or a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by one to three years in jail if they owe more than $10,000 in child support. They will also be required to pay fines.
  • Wage and income garnishment. The OSCE can order wage garnishments where the full amount of child support and any arrears can be taken from the obligor’s wages. They can also intercept lottery winnings, as well as income tax refunds from the state or federal government. Unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation benefits can also be garnished.
  • Reporting of unpaid child support to professional licensing. If your work requires a professional license, and you fail to pay your child support, you can be reported to the licensing board. From there, the board may choose to suspend your license until you are paid in full, or have come to an arrangement to pay off your debt.
  • Suspension of driving privileges. The MVA can suspend the obligor’s driver’s license until they pay back child support if they are more than 90 days in arears.
  • Revoked passport. Your passport can be revoked if you are in arrears. This does not happen often, but it may, if you are deemed a flight risk. 

Maryland parents who are owed child support payments from their co-parent can enroll in services through the Maryland Child Support Office. An experienced Bethesda child support attorney from McCabe Russell, PA can offer you sound legal advice about Maryland child support enforcement and other family law services.

You cannot be denied custody if you are in arrears

There is a general misconception that if a parent is behind in child support payments, it can affect his or her rights to custody or visitation with the children. If a parent is not paying child support, the primary residential parent does not have the right or the authority to deny the other parent visitation with the child. There are mechanisms in place to enforce child support orders that do not involve denying a parent time with his or her child.

At McCabe Russell, PA, we help families move forward. Our family law attorneys in Bethesda can be trusted to help protect your best interests and those of your children. To speak with an experienced lawyer serving Montgomery County clients today, please call 443-812-1435 or fill out our contact form. We also maintain offices in Columbia, Rockville and Fulton.