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CHILD SUPPORT: Enforcement Tools

January 13, 2011

Yesterday, I posted an article entitled, “What Deadbeat Dads Need to Know About Child Support and Getting a U.S. Passport.” As promised, here’s some more information derived from the State of Maryland’s Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) about how the State’s Attorney can help collect Court-ordered child support (and alimony) from the chronic Deadbeat Dad in your life. Sometimes, just one or two of these enforcement methods are successful in obtaining compliance. Please note that you or even your private attorney CANNOT perform the following administrative procedures. These steps MUST be initiated through the child support enforcement office in your jurisdiction.

I’ve tried the private attorney scenario, with absolutely no success other than to accrue over $16,000 in legal debts — and my attorney was not successful in getting me anything other than two evictions, two vehicle repossessions, and bad credit. Additionally, I was forced to represent myself as a Pro se litigant against my ex’s unscrupulous attorneys. So far, I’ve collected over $29,000 in bank garnishments, but the father of my children is self-employed in the landscape construction industry. That has been a challenging obstacle for me when it comes to garnishments for obvious reasons. But, I can’t do it alone. I filed my case with the child support enforcement office in Maryland.

Here are the options available that we Pro se litigants — OR EVEN OUR ATTORNEYS — cannot do ourselves. We need a little help from the authorities to initiate the following procedures:

Federal Income Tax Refund Offset
Federal and state laws authorize the Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) to intercept a federal income tax refund when a non-custodial parent becomes $500 in arrears of his/her monthly child support payments. CSEA sends a notice to the non-custodial parent 30 days before submitting his/her case information for federal income tax refund offset. The non-custodial parent may challenge the amount of arrears by sending a signed request for an investigation to his/her local child support enforcement agency.

State Income Tax Refund Offset
Federal and state laws authorize the Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) to intercept a state income tax refund when a non-custodial parent becomes $150 in arrears of his/her monthly child support payments. CSEA sends a notice to the non-custodial parent after submitting his/her case information for state income tax refund offset. The non-custodial parent may challenge the amount of arrears by sending a signed request for an investigation to his/her local child support enforcement agency.

Administrative Passport Denial
Persons certified as owing past-due child support in an amount greater than $2,500.00 are subject to denial, revocation, and/or restriction of a passport.

Driver’s License Suspension
Child support payors who are 60 days or more out of compliance with their most recent court order are referred to the Motor Vehicle Administration. Once a license is suspended, the individual’s license can only be reinstated if the individual pays the arrears in full, makes six (6) consecutive payments of the court ordered child support amount or if the individual provides documentation to support a claim of hardship.

Professional License Suspension Program
The Child Support Enforcement Administration is authorized to refer delinquent payees to the licensing authority. This can result in either the suspension of an individual’s professional or occupational license or the denial of his/her application for such a license.

New Hire Reporting
States are required to have a central registry where all employers must report newly hired or re-hired employees within 20 days of their first day of work. If an employee matches with the child support database, a wage withholding order is automatically sent to the employer.

Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM)
States are required to identify and garnish, if appropriate, assets of parents owing past-due child support through a database match with financial institutions.

Wage Withholding Orders
Employers are required to withhold child support from payees’ wages. The withholding orders account for a majority of all child support obligations that are collected by the Child Support Enforcement Administration. The wage withholding orders allows for accurate payment tracking and ensures prompt payments for the custodial parent.

Credit Bureau Reporting
The Child Support Enforcement Administration or a local child support enforcement office is authorized to report a delinquent payees account to a consumer credit reporting agency. The non-custodial parent is reported when they are delinquent 60 days or more with his/her child support obligation.

Administrative Liens
States are required to have the authority to administratively issue a lien on real or personal property and seize assets for past-due support.

State Lottery Intercept
The Child Support Enforcement Administration may intercept lottery winnings for past due child support. Past due child support must total $500.00 or more for a case to be eligible for the State to intercept lottery winnings.

Contempt
Civil contempt is when the Judge determines the non-custodial parent did not pay child support and the parent has the ability to pay his/her obligation. Civil contempt may include incarceration.


Other Enforcement Tools

Medical Support Enforcement
The Child Support Enforcement Administration is authorized to obtain medical support from either parent.

Unemployment Insurance
The Child Support Enforcement Administration is authorized to collect unemployment insurance amounts for past due and current child support.

Workers Compensation Commission (WCC)
The Child Support Enforcement Administration is authorized to intercept Workers Compensation awards for past due child support.

For Employers

Priority for Withholding Child Support Obligations from an Employee’s Pay

Family Law Article, §12-102.1(c), Annotated Code of Maryland mandates that “Subject to federal law, a medical support notice has priority over any other lien or legal process, except for current support and support arrears withheld under an earnings withholding order or notice”. For child support obligations, current support and support arrears have priority over health insurance premiums. The cost of these obligations must be below the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act limits.

To Remit by EFT/EDI or ExpertPay. Call direct at 443.957.2680 or email at mdsdu.eft@acs-inc.com (for Maryland cases). Learn about how to comply with wage garnishments in an Employer Forum (the last one was on October 28, 2009). Or, get some basic questions answered by clicking Frequently Asked Questions Employers or call your local office today.

Additional Resources

A special note from Charley to Maryland parents about child support and alimony: These laws apply to alimony as well as child support. Make sure to collect every penny you are owed, plus post-judgment interest, and costs. An article that specifically addresses the topic of alimony is coming soon, so be sure to check back often or submit your Subscription request today.

Now…GO GET YOUR MONEY!

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15 Comments
  1. [Great|Awesome|Good|Fantastic|Excellent] post. Thanks!

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Letter to the State’s Attorney | The Santana Saga
  2. Letter to the State’s Attorney: Criminal Nonsupport Complaint and Petition for State Enforcement (Child Support and Alimony) | The Santana Saga
  3. Collecting Your Past Due Child Support: What Your Attorney Won’t Tell You | The Just Call Me Charley Blog

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