Enforcement Tools

The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration is committed to working with families to ensure all children receive the financial support they need to thrive. We work closely with non-custodial parents to identify and overcome any challenges they face in making regular and timely child support payments. At the same time, we aggressively pursue cases where a non-custodial parent has the ability to make regular payments but chooses not to.

The following is a list of enforcement tools that Maryland law allows for the collection and distribution of overdue child support payments:

Federal Income Tax Refund Offset

Federal and state laws authorize the Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) to intercept federal income tax refunds. All cases are automatically certified for federal tax offset if the arrears are $500 or more. A notice is sent to the obligor 30 days before certification. An obligor may challenge the amount of arrears by sending a signed request for an investigation to the local child support agency. CSEA cannot predict when a federal tax offset might be received or the amount of any such offset.

State Income Tax Refund Offset

Federal and state laws authorize CSES to intercept Maryland State income tax refunds. All cases are automatically certified if the obligor owes $150 or more in arrears. CSEA sends a notice to the obligor after submitting the case information to the Comptroller. An obligor may challenge the amount of arrears by sending a signed request for an investigation to your local child support agency. CSEA cannot predict when a State tax intercept might be received or the amount of any such intercept.

Administrative Passport Denial

CSEA certifies all obligors for passport denial if the obligor owes $2,500 or more in past due support. Generally an obligor must pay the arrears in full before CSEA will withdraw its request for passport suspension.

Driver’s License Suspension

Child support obligors who are 60 days or more out of compliance with their most recent court order are referred to the Motor Vehicle Administration for suspension. Once suspension occurs the obligor may contact the local office to arrange for reinstatement of the driver’s license.

Professional License Suspension Program

Child support obligors who are 120 days or more out of compliance with their most recent court order are referred to the licensing authority for professional license suspension. Once suspended, a license can be reinstated upon payment of the arrears in full, or paying the court ordered amount for four consecutive months.

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, financial 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 payors’ wages. Most child support obligations are collected through withholding orders. The wage withholding orders allow for accurate payment tracking and ensure prompt payments for the custodial party.

Credit Bureau Reporting

The Child Support Administration or a local child support office is authorized to report a delinquent payor’s account to a consumer credit reporting agency. Reporting occurs if the obligor is 60 or more days past due.

Administrative Liens

States 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 Administration may intercept lottery winnings for past due child support if the amount owed is at least $150.

Contempt

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

Other Enforcement Tools

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

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

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