A Guide to Receiving Child Support in Maryland

What is Child Support?

Child support consists of regular payments made by one former partner to the other. Couples getting separated or divorced may choose the person who will make those payments and the amount that will be paid in their separation agreement. That determination may also be made by a judge in a court of law.

Why is Child Support Necessary?

Child support payments are intended to be used for food, clothing, shelter and education for any child that the couple had together. The best interests of the affected children should always be the priority when child support is being considered. Children’s basic needs and their standard of living should be sustained as much as possible.

Who Can Receive Child Support?

Any person who is a custodian of a child may be eligible for child support. This includes birth parents, adoptive parents, court-appointed legal guardians, grandparents, uncles and aunts. The custodial parent or caregiver is the person who is typically awarded child support.

How Can I Request Child Support?

Child support services are available free of charge for any adult in Maryland who has not received Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) for a child support case in the past. An annual collection fee of $15 will be charged if the parent or caregiver has never received TCA for their case or if they’ve received $3,500 or more in child support during a 12-month time period. That time period will begin annually on October 1st.

A child support case must be opened with the respective local child support enforcement office. You will need a recent financial statement and the Complaint for Child Support form (CC-DR-001). The child support enforcement office may open the case for you or help you with an existing child support order if necessary.

What Information Do I Need to Supply For My Child Support Request?

You must provide the last known address and full name, as well as any other aliases or nicknames for each parent. The date of birth and social security numbers of each parent may also be included. You may be asked for a document that proves parentage, such as a birth certificate or affidavit of parentage along with other paperwork (marriage license, divorce decree, protective order, separation order, etc.). Optional items that may be included are the company name and address of employment for each parent, and the affected children’s social security numbers and birthdates.

How Are Child Support Payments Distributed?

As of this writing, all child support payments made in the state of Maryland are distributed via mail, direct deposit to the custodian’s bank account, or added to the applicant’s Electronic Payment Issuance Card (EPIC) program. This program provides VISA debit cards to people who qualify for child support payments. Recipients will have a Bank of America account opened on their behalf for this money. This card will only be used for child support payments, and other outside funds cannot be added to these accounts. They don’t operate like traditional credit cards. Anyone who does not want this debit card and would prefer those payments going to their bank account or be sent in the mail will need to contact their area child support office or the Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration (MCSEA).

Child support payments are kept by the state if the custodian is currently receiving Temporary Cash Assistance. The child support payments will be used as reimbursement for that assistance. Current child support payments and any payments that may be in arrears will be mailed or submitted via direct deposit if the custodian is no longer receiving TCA.

What Happens if I Stop Receiving Child Support Payments?

If you are not receiving the child support payments that were ordered, get in touch with the Customer Care Center. They will investigate the matter to find out why the required payments have ceased. A representative may contact you once they know what happened and have found out when the payments will resume.

In some situations, a payor may decide to stop paying child support. There are many reasons why this happens. The person may have been incarcerated for committing a crime, lost their job or just decided that they don’t want to pay anymore. There are several actions that the child support office may take if that happens.

They could garnish the payor’s wages, money they have at different financial institutions, or take that person’s Maryland state lottery winnings to pay child support. The office may also take money from their federal or state tax returns, prevent the payor’s passport from being issued or renewed, forward their information to the respective department of motor vehicles (which could result in the person having their driver’s license suspended), ask for any professional licenses that they have to be suspended or revoked, or report people who haven’t paid their required child support payments to credit bureaus. Court proceedings could also begin against the person who has been late with their child support or stopped making those payments altogether. The child support office and/or the person receiving those payments will need to confirm that the other party can financially afford to continue making those payments.

How Can I Stop Child Support Payments?

The Customer Care Center needs be contacted if you wish to close your case. If the person receiving child support gets married, child support payments will cease. Child support will also end when the affected children turn 18 years of age. They will then be considered legal adults in the state of Maryland.

It may take some time for a case to be opened and for one parent to start receiving child support payments. Be prepared to wait a few weeks or months, especially if the person who is supposed to make those payments is slow to respond or lives in another state or country. If you have any questions regarding child support, contact us today. Our trained professionals will listen to your concerns and provide valuable advice. We can even represent you in court. We want you to get back on your feet. Divorce can be stressful, but it should be over before you know it.

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