For some parents, getting a divorce is an opportunity for a fresh start. You are leaving behind an unhappy or unhealthy relationship and seeking a better life for you and your children. The courts granted you custody or perhaps your former spouse didn’t seek custody of your children. Whatever the situation, you are now expected, on your own, to provide for your children. It can be incredibly difficult for people to cover all of the financial requirements of parenthood on their own, especially right after a divorce. That’s why the parent who doesn’t get custody should pay child support.
Maryland looks at a number of factors when setting child support amounts. The income of both parents, as well as special needs of the children, get considered. Costs like health care and child care get factored into the final figure. For custodial parents, child support represents only a fraction of what it costs to care for children in any given month. For non-custodial parents, even a low and reasonable child support payment may seem unfair and burdensome. This can lead to a lapse in payment or a refusal to pay even from the earliest stages of divorce. These situations may need enforcement efforts.
Maryland can help enforce child support orders
If your former spouse is refusing to pay child support on time and in full, it can keep you from providing your children with everything they need. Your rent, your bills and even your grocery money could be impacted by someone withholding child support. If you can’t speak with your ex-spouse and convince him or her to live up to the obligations that come with parenthood, you may need to request enforcement action. Because Maryland family courts issue child support as a court order, failing to comply may be contempt of court. That could result in issuing a warrant and incarceration.
The courts can take a number of other actions to help enforce a support order. The simplest is often garnishing the wages of the non-custodial parent. However, your ex-spouse could decide to find a new job to try to sidestep enforcement efforts. The state can also seize part or all of your former spouse’s federal or state income tax returns. The same is true of lottery winnings, workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits. If none of those options work, the courts could place a lien on the non-custodial parent’s home or seize assets, like vehicles, to pay the balance owed.
In some cases, the state can suspend the driver’s license of someone who fails to pay child support. Professional licenses can also get suspended for non-payment of child support. Your former spouse could even end up getting denied a passport until child support arrears get paid in full. If you aren’t receiving child support and need enforcement actions, working with an experienced Maryland attorney can help make the process simpler for you. Your lawyer can help you push for enforcement when child support isn’t being paid by your ex-spouse.