Child Support Arrears—Maryland Enforcement Tools
Updated: Jul 20
During a custody hearing, the Circuit Court judge has the power to award child support to the custodial parent. If the non-custodial parent falls behind on that obligation, purposely quits his or her job, or makes the decision not to pay, the custodial parent can contact the Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSA) who will step in to collect any child support arrears on the custodial parent’s behalf.
Administrative Liens—Maryland State has the authority to put a lien on a parent’s home and/or personal property. The State also has the authority to seize and sell those items to satisfy your arrears.
Bank Account Garnishment—Maryland State has the right to garnish bank accounts in order to satisfy support obligations.
Contempt—A judge has the authority to hold a parent in contempt of court and may impose a fine on the parent and/or put the parent in jail for a specific period of time.
Credit Bureau Reporting—If a parent is 60 days or more behind on support, CSA has the right to report it to Equifax, Experian, and/or Transunion. This may have a negative impact on the ability to obtain credit in the future.
Driver’s License Suspension—If a parent is 60 days or more behind on payments, the Motor Vehicle Administration will suspend his/her driver’s license. To reinstate, he/she must contact the local office to pay arrears in full.
Federal Income Tax Refund Offset—Both Federal and Maryland State laws authorize CSA to collect federal income tax refunds if child support arrears are $500.00 or more and more than two months behind. Before offset, CSA will send a notice, which can be challenged.
Example: You are in arrears $600.00 and your support obligation is $100.00 per month. This means that you are over the $500.00 and you are behind by six months your arrears, which is more than two times your support obligation.
New Hire Reporting & Wage Withholding—If a parent starts a new job, the employer will be notified of the support order and child support will be withheld from each paycheck.
Passport Denial—If arrears are more than $2,500.00, CSA will flag your passport for suspension. To remove the flag, arrears must be paid in full.
Professional License Suspension—If a parent is 120 days or more behind, his/her professional license will be suspended and can only be reinstated by paying arrears in full or paying monthly support on time for four months.
State Income Tax Refund Offset—Federal and State laws authorize CSA to collect a Maryland State income tax refund if the past due balance is $150.00 and a parent is more than two months behind. CSA sends notice after it has submitted a case to the Comptroller, which can be challenged.
State Lottery Intercept—If you owe $150.00 or more, the State can intercept lottery winnings to satisfy arrears.
Unemployment Insurance—CSA is authorized to collect unemployment insurance for current and past due child support obligations.
Workers Compensation Commission—CSA is authorized to collect a parent’s Workers Compensation for past-due child support obligations.
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