Parents of children have a moral and legal obligation to provide support for their child until independence. Many times, the parent with the child is the one to care for the child’s needs after the divorce or separation of the parents. Child support laws in Maryland aims to prevent this from happening. They provide legal orders that allow the noncustodial parent, if they wish to, to take on the responsibility of raising the child.
The Process For Child Support After Divorce
The Child Support Administration (CSA) administers child support in Maryland. It is part of the Department of Human Services. Custodial parent of a child can request child support services. Simply fill in the application form for child support in Maryland, and submit it with a $15 application fee. Parents who are currently receiving or previously receiving public financial aid do not need to pay this fee. Parents must also submit a financial statement with their application. The custodial parent must fill out the application form with certain details about the non-custodial parents. These details include the last known address, employer last known, employer’s address, phone number and physical description.
After the submission of application, the CSA attempts to make contact with the other parent. They also notify them about the child support case. Any information that was previously given may prove to be crucial in locating the non-custodial parent. If they could not locate the other parent, the case will stop.
If the child was born to unmarried parents, and there is a dispute about who the father is, the CSA can help legally establish paternity. A court would order the execution of a genetic (DNA) test. The cost of DNA tests to determine paternity is $120. They can be as accurate as 99%. The court will issue a paternity order after the establishment of the paternity of the child.
The case proceeds to a hearing after the confirmation process. CSA then determines the amount of child support basing on a variety of factors. Visit this page for more details on the application process and requirements.
How To Receive Child Support in Maryland
The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Agency (SCEA) automatically enroll parents that they process in the Electronic Payment Issuance Card program (EPIC). The Electronic Payment Issuance Card (EPIC) is a debit card with that receives child support payments monthly. Parents can use the card in the same manner as a regular VISA debit credit card. CSEA-qualified parties cannot make payments to the EPIC card account. To request a direct deposit form, call 1-800-332-6347. For more details on child support services in Maryland, visit the State’s website.
The Maximum Amount That Your Family Can Receive
Maryland uses an Income Share Model to calculate child support. The income of both the parents, their age, the number and health of the children, as well as who pays them, healthcare costs/insurance, special needs, child support obligations, dependents, and other factors are all considered. Before deciding on a final amount, all factors will be under consideration.
An additional medical order could also be made for the child. Parents who have a substantial income will pay more child support than parents with lower incomes. If the child support order is not appropriate for their current circumstances, parents can request for renewal and modification. This can be possible after major income changes, changes in healthcare costs or changes to custody arrangements.
Enforcement of Child Support
Enforcement actions will be taken against noncustodial parents who fail to pay their bills on time, don’t pay in full, or do not pay at all. These enforcement actions can be severe and are designed to force the defaulting parent to make their payments according to order. These actions include:
- Tax refunds not being accepted
- Credit agencies reporting
- Retaining child support from the wages of the parents
- To pay arrears, intercept lottery winnings.
- Passport applications denied
- Revocation or suspension of professional and recreational licenses, etc.
In extreme cases, the child support officer can request a contempt hearing in court. This could lead to jail time for the offender.