Basics to Maryland’s child support program

If you are a custodial parent of a child in Maryland, you may be wondering about your rights regarding child support payments. Children are expensive, and it is hard to raise a child on one income. Child support is a payment program, which requires the noncustodial parent of a child to pay monetary amounts to the custodial parent. The payments are intended to assist the custodial parent with supporting and caring for the child. Even when custody is shared, child support payments could be ordered by a court. This is because children have the right to support contributions from the incomes of both parents.

How much is the child support obligation?

Child support payments are determined by a schedule of basic child support obligations. The basic child support obligation is assigned to parents in proportion to their incomes.

What happens when a parent does not fulfill payment obligations?

If a parent does not pay his or her child support payments, he or she is subject to law enforcement measures. Federal and Maryland laws provide relief for past-due payments. For example, missed payments could result in some of the following penalties:

  • An offset of income taxes
  • Suspension of one's driver's license
  • Wage withholding orders
  • Reporting to a credit bureau
  • Seizure of assets
  • Liens on personal or real property

These are just a few ways that a parent could be penalized for missed child support payments.

It is important to note that Maryland generally does not provide for interest on missed child support payments or retroactive support. However, there is no statute of limitations on the collection of payments. In other words, support arrears are always owed until the payment obligation is fulfilled.

When does the child support obligation end?

The duty to pay child support ends when a child reaches 18. If the child is still enrolled in secondary school during this time, the payment obligation will continue until the education is complete or the child reaches the age of 19 - whichever occurs first. However, a court may order support in situations involving a disabled adult child or other limited circumstances.

Ultimately, childrearing is a financially difficult process. It is very difficult for a parent to support a home and child on one income. For this reason, the child support process provides a financial benefit, which can help a child with his or her financial needs.

If you are interested in learning more about child support, contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.