Today is December 21, 2012, the date the Mayans prophesized the world would end. If the Mayans were right, you can disregard the rest of this post. If the world keeps spinning tomorrow, thousands of parents in Maryland are still going to be left with the same problem of collection back child support from their delinquent partners. Maryland child support lawyers know the right ways and the wrong ways to go about collecting arrearages in child support, and can connect you to the state and federal government resources that you may not have known were at your disposal.
A great place to start is the family law section of the People’s Law Library of Maryland network (http://www.peoples-law.org/categories/4449/2), a free online learning and information resource operated by the Maryland State Law Library in Annapolis. The PLL network contains useful links to all of the county, state, and federal agencies who are charged with investigating child support arrearages and locating the delinquent parent so that the child support order can be enforced. It also contains plain-English explanations of the applicable laws involved in child support enforcement and resources for contacting attorneys on their child support matters.
Clients often come into a family law office with an incomplete understanding of the different ways he or she can enforce a child support order. They have a general idea about wage garnishments, but do not realize that there is a host of other different ways to compel child support payments. According to the PLL network website, “If the noncustodial parent does not pay on time, or does not pay in full, the child support enforcement office may:
- Withhold child support from wages and unemployment benefits, Workers’ Compensation claims, etc.
- Intercept federal and state tax refunds to pay child support arrears
- Report parents owing past-due support to credit bureaus
- Refer parents owing past-due support to the Motor Vehicle Administration for driver’s license suspension
- Intercept Maryland lottery winnings to pay child support arrears
- Garnish accounts at financial institutions
- Request the suspension or revocation of a professional or recreational license
- Bring contempt of court actions against that parent
- Deny the issuance or renewal of a passport
- Refer cases for federal prosecution when non-custodial parents move to another state to avoid paying child support” (Source: PLL website – http://www.peoples-law.org/node/263).
The People’s Law Library network is a great resource to tap for information about child support. However, it should be treated merely as a starting point, and not as official legal advice. Collecting child support involves filling out many complicated forms and corresponding with a number of different local, state, and perhaps federal agencies. This is where a Maryland family law attorney can be helpful. Your attorney can help prepare your forms and see to it that the forms make it to the appropriate state agency. If your partner decides to mount a legal challenge to your child support collection efforts, your attorney will also be there to help defend your financial interests by proving your necessity for child support at a rate acceptable to your quality of life.
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