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As a custodial parent, you rely upon child support for medical necessities, day-to-day expenses, and many other costs involved with raising a child. It can be upsetting when a noncustodial parent shirks support obligations as ordered by the court after your divorce. However, it is downright maddening when the payor relocates out of Maryland or already lives in another state. There are already challenges in getting the funds you need, and now you are faced with the obstacles that come with crossing state lines. It should come as some comfort to know that the Maryland Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) provides you with tools to enforce the court’s child support order, even when dealing with a nonresident payor parent.
Still, taking advantage of your legal options with enforcement of out-of-state child support can be complicated. Mistakes could lead to delays, so it is smart to trust a Maryland divorce attorney for assistance. Some background information also offers insight on what to expect.
Locating the Payor Parent
Assuming you already have a child support order issued by a Maryland court, the initial consideration for enforcement is practical: Locating the non-paying parent, especially one that does not want to be found. All US statutes have passed their own versions of UIFSA, including reciprocal provisions that require other states to help you find a non-paying parent. Government agencies in other jurisdictions may review:
- Information about a new job or recent employment;
- Filings for unemployment;
- Issuance of a driver’s license or change of address;
- Details regarding a professional or business license issued in another state;
- Data from credit bureaus, which reveals recent financial activity and transactions; and,
- New hookups for power, water, cable, telecom, and other utilities.
UIFSA Enforcement Options
Once you find your child’s co-parent, you can turn to enforcement of the child support order. UIFSA enables a Maryland court to exercise personal jurisdiction over someone who is subject to a child support obligation. With this power, courts and government agencies in both states can take such enforcement efforts as:
- Wage Garnishment: You can receive current payments and back due child support by garnishing wages, which is essentially taking the funds before the co-parent even receives the paycheck.
- Liens and Attachment: It is also possible to enforce child support orders by encumbering the non-paying parent’s property located in the other state. Examples include liens on real estate and attaching bank accounts.
- Criminal Charges: It is even possible to seek criminal penalties against a non-paying co-parent, since refusal to pay child support is a form of contempt of court. This measure is extreme, and probably not available if the reason for not paying is legitimate financial hardship.
Get Legal Help from a Baltimore County, MD Divorce Lawyer
This overview is helpful, but it should also convince you how important it is to retain skilled legal representation to assist with getting child support from an out-of-state parent. To learn how I can assist with the process, please contact me, William F. Mulroney. You can set up a consultation by calling 443.352.8433 or visiting me online.