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Maryland Child Support Laws

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The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Agency can help you with your child support issues. Child Support is a financial support paid by a parent to help support a child or children of whom they do not have custody. Child support is entered voluntarily or ordered by a court or a properly empowered administrative agency, depending on each State’s laws.

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How do I apply for Child Support?

This system can raise the standard of living for children by enforcing their right to receive financial support from the non-custodial parent. The child support program assists families with collecting much needed child support from non-custodial parents who are not in the home. To be eligible for services, you must be able to establish paternity of the child. If you are not receiving cash assistance or medical assistance, you must pay a one time non-refundable fee of $25.00 when you file an application. There is NO income requirement to receive assistance from the child support program. You must be willing to provide as much information as you can regarding locating the absent parent. When you apply you must bring the following:


  • Photo Identification (Driver’s License, Maryland ID, or Employment ID)
  • Proof of Address
  • Birth Certificate for the child you want support for
  • Proof of paternity
  • Information about the absent parent
  • Social Security Cards



Establishing Paternity

Under Maryland Child Support law, a child born to parents who are not married has no legal father. Your child deserves all of the benefits of life that two parents can give. There are some reasons to establish paternity. Your child may be eligible for some benefits because you have established paternity. These benefits are the structure of your Childs life. Without these benefits your child will have a hard time getting what they deserve. These benefits may include social security, veteran's benefits, health insurance, life insurance and inheritance. Establishing paternity ensures you can provide for your child even when the unexpected occurs. If you are currently receiving Temporary Cash Assistance payments, your case will automatically be referred to your local office of Maryland Child Support Enforcement Agency by the Department of Social Services.


Family Medical History:

Knowing the family's full history of diseases, illnesses and birth defects will help your doctor if your child becomes sick. It's important to know the father's medical history for this reason.


Child Support:

A financial support paid by a parent to help support a child or children of whom they do not have custody. Child support can be entered into voluntarily or ordered by a court or a properly empowered administrative agency, depending on each State’s laws.


If the father is present:

After your baby is born, you can encourage the father to start the paternity process by having his name placed on the birth certificate and signing a simple legal form, the Affidavit of Parentage, stating that he is the baby's father. You and the father can sign the Affidavit of Parentage (Affidavit) right after your child's birth or while you are still in the hospital. You can also take the form home and complete it and send it back to the Division of Vital Records. each parent must sign the Affidavit in the presence of a notary public. You may contact the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene/Division of Vital Records to request an Affidavit. You can establish paternity with an Affidavit until your child's 18th birthday.


If you change your mind:

A person who has signed an Affidavit of Parentage claiming to be the parent of a child may cancel the Affidavit by completing a Rescission Form for Affidavit of Parentage and signing and dating it in the presence of a notary public within sixty 60 days of the date the Affidavit was signed by both parties. If more than sixty days have passed from the date the Affidavit was signed, the Rescission Form will NOT cancel the Affidavit. If the Parents signed on different dates, count from the date that the last party signed. After the expiration of the sixty day period, the Affidavit can only be nullified by a court order, upon a finding of fraud, duress or material mistake of fact.


Enforcement Tools Used To Collect Support

Passport Denial Program

The Passport Denial Program, which is part of the Federal Offset Program, is designed to help states enforce delinquent child support obligations. Under the program, non-custodial parents certified by a state as having arrearages exceeding $2,500 are submitted by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement to the Department of State which denies them U.S. passports upon application or the use of a passport service.


Federal Income Tax Refund Offset

Federal and state laws authorize Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration to intercept a federal income tax refund when a non-custodial parent becomes $500 in arrears of his/her monthly child support payments. Maryland Child Support 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 Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration 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.


Driver's License Suspension

Child support payers 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 Maryland 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

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 Maryland 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

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

Customer Service

Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration, Department of Human Resources


Saratoga State Center
311 West Saratoga Street, Room 301
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-3521


Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Division of Vital Records
410-764-3182


* Contacting The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration


By U.S. Mail:


Child Support Enforcement Administration
311 W. Saratoga Street
Baltimore, MD 21201


By Telephone:


TTY: 1-800-925-4434
Customer Services Information Line:
1-800-332-6347


Baltimore City Customer Service only
410-951-8000


Queen Anne's County Customer Service only
410-758-4347


Automated Customer Service and Payment Information in the Baltimore Metro Area:
410-962-1110


Outside Baltimore Metro Area
1-800-723-9937


Send Child Support Payments to:

Maryland Child Support Account
P.O. Box 17396
Baltimore, Maryland 21297-1396

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