Paying Support FAQs
Who is eligible for child support services?
Any custodian of a minor child is eligible for services. This includes parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, court-appointed guardians, or others who are caring for a child. The services available include establishing paternity for their child(ren), establishing a court order for child support and/or medical support or collecting current or past due child support payments. The non-custodial parent may also apply for child support services to determine paternity of a child born out of wedlock, to sign up for voluntary wage withholding of child support, or to request modification of the child support ordered amount.
How can I get information about my child support case?
The Maryland Child Support Administration has a toll-free Maryland Child Support Customer Care Center ( 1-800-332-6347) to handle all of your general questions and provide payment information. The Customer Care Center can accept requests for payment history, address changes, employment changes, and requests for enforcement of a court order. If the information or assistance you need cannot be provided by the Customer Care Center, a work order will be prepared and emailed to your case specialist. After your case specialist reviews your case and takes appropriate action, you will be contacted within 20 days if necessary. If a work order is a priority matter, such as an issue for an upcoming court date, a driver’s license suspension, or an employer with a wage lien question, you will be contacted within 48 hours. Please allow 10 working days after a hearing date for updated information regarding your account to be posted to the case file. Please note: your calls will not be forwarded to the local child support office on a routine basis.
Which office should I go to?
Inquiries about your child support case are best handled through the Customer Care Center. The number is 1-800-332-6347
Do all states handle cases the same way?
Cases are not handled the same way in all states. While all states have the same goals of establishing paternity and child support orders and enforcement of child support orders, each state has its own child support process and its own methods of calculating child support.
How do you determine the amount of child support to be paid?
Maryland uses an income shares model for its child support guidelines. The guidelines also take into account the income of both parents, number of children, cost of health insurance for the child(ren), current child support being paid for other child(ren), alimony being paid, alimony being received, the cost of daycare, and the cost of extraordinary medical expenses for the child(ren).
How are child support payments paid?
If the custodial parent receives TCA, any child support payments collected will be kept by the state as reimbursement for that benefit. If the custodial parent no longer receives Temporary Cash Assistance, the current support as well as any payments made on arrears due will be sent to the custodial parent. If the custodial parent has never received Temporary Cash Assistance payments, all monies collected will be sent to the custodial parent. Payments will be deposited directly into the bank account, or mailed. Contact the Customer Care Center at 1-800-332-6347 to apply for direct deposit of child support payments
How do I change my: name, address, telephone number, and employment information?
The order for support requires that the person paying child support notify the court within ten days of any change in address or employment. You must also notify your local child support office by contacting the Customer Care Center at 1-800-332-6347, or by notifying your local office in writing by mail or fax along with a clear copy of your photo ID.. Please include your nine digit case number on all correspondence.
Can I request genetic testing?
If paternity has not been established either the custodial parent or alleged father may request genetic testing. The child support office will schedule genetic testing which is usually done at the child support office. The cost of genetic testing varies across the state. The average cost of the test is $120.
How do I make payments?
Maryland law requires that all new court orders have support payments made by wage attachment. If you change your job you must notify the child support agency of your new employment information immediately so the income withholding order/notice can be redirected. It is your responsibility to make sure that your payments are made on time, even if you become unemployed, disabled or incarcerated. If your circumstances change substantially and you are not going to be able to pay the amount ordered, contact the Customer Care Center at 1-800-332-6347 or your local office to learn about applying for a modification to your order.
How long before my employer starts making deductions?
Once your employer receives the income withholding order/notice, s/he is required to make the deduction the first pay period after the receipt of the wage lien. Until you receive a pay stub which shows that your employer has started deducting the child support payment, you are responsible for sending your support payments to the Maryland Child Support Account. You can speed this process by taking a copy of the order you receive at your court hearing to your employer and asking to start making the deductions immediately. You should monitor your account to make sure you are receiving credit for the income withholding payments
Where should I make my payments?
Payments, in the form of check or money order, should be mailed to the Maryland Child Support Account, P.O. Box 17396, Baltimore, Maryland 21297-1396. Please include your nine digit case number on all payments.
I have a new employer. How can I get my employer to withhold child support from my wages?
You are required to report any change in employment to the child support agency and to the court within 10 days of any change. You should contact the Customer Care Center at 1-800-332-6347. The agency will issue an administrative earnings withholding order to your new employer. YOU MUST MAKE THE PAYMENTS YOURSELF UNTIL YOUR NEW EMPLOYER STARTS TO MAKE THE DEDUCTIONS FROM YOUR PAY. Send your payments to:
Maryland Child Support Account Post Office Box 17396 Baltimore, MD 21297-1396Make sure that you put your nine digit case number on your check or money order
Can you attach my worker’s compensation, unemployment or disability checks?
We can attach other forms of income, including these. You should contact the child support agency as soon as your job status changes to make arrangements for paying your support so that you do not fall behind.
How long am I obligated to pay child support?
Under Maryland law, child support continues until the minor child reaches the age of 18. It may be extended to age 19 if the child is still enrolled in high school. If there is past-due child support, the agency will continue to enforce payment until the arrears are paid in full, regardless of the age of the child.
How do I request an increase/decrease in my child support?
You have the right to request a review for a modification if there has been a change in circumstances since the order was entered, or if three years have passed since he order was entered or last reviewed for modification. Examples of changes in circumstances that may be grounds for a modification are: significant changes in income, changes in work-related day care cost, changes in health care costs, a change in custody, or a change in the financial needs of the child. Contact the Customer Care Center at 1-800-332-6347 for additional information.
I lost my job (or I am earning less money). What can I do?
Your child support obligation continues unless and until the order is modified, even if you lose your job. modification of child support may be appropriate if circumstances have changed substantially since the last order was entered. You may download an Application for Services and a Financial Statement from our Forms page and mail the documents to the child support office. Contact the Customer Care Center at 1-800-332-6347 or your local office to request a modification package. . You may hire an attorney to file a motion for modification, or you may represent yourself and file a motion for modification with the Court.
I have been laid off and can’t pay my court ordered child support. What can I do?
If you receive unemployment benefits during the time that you are laid off you need to make sure that your child support is paid. The child support payments can be deducted automatically from your unemployment benefits. If you are not receiving unemployment benefits and cannot find another job promptly you may qualify for a modification of child support. Your local child support office can refer you to the Noncustodial Parent Employment Program (NPEP), which is an employment services program. Contact the Customer Care Center at 1-800-332-6347 for more information about the NPEP Program
I am disabled and I can’t work now. Do I still have to pay child support?
Your obligation to pay child support continues until your order is modified by the court. You should contact your child support specialist and provide him/her with medical information, including reports from your doctor about your ability to work. It may be appropriate for your child support order to be modified temporarily until you are healed and able to return to work. If you are receiving worker’s compensation payments or disability payments you must continue to pay your child support. Your case may qualify for closure if you provide medical documentation that you are permanently and totally disabled.
My girlfriend/boyfriend/new spouse has a child whom I am supporting. Can I get credit for supporting that child since s/he lives in my household?
You may only receive credit for a child whom you are legally obligated to support. If you have legally adopted the child or you have a court order giving you custody or guardianship, then your support of that child may be considered in calculating child support. One or both parents have had another child since the last child support order was entered. How will this effect child support? The child support order will remain in effect unless and until it is modified. If either parent requests a modification, the Court may consider the obligations of each parent to support other children. If there is a support order for other children the amount of support will be considered in the guidelines calculation
I am living with or have married someone else since my child support order was entered, or the other parent is now living with or married to someone else. Am I entitled to an increase/decrease in child support?
The incomes that are considered for purposes of calculating the recommended amount of child support according to the Maryland Child Support Guidelines are the income of both parents. The income of spouses or boyfriends or girlfriends usually is not considered.
My child (or one of my children) turned 18. How do I get my child support order reduced or ended?
Send a written statement to your case specialist stating the facts of your case. Note that if the child is still enrolled in high school, the obligation to pay child support and medical support continues until she or he turns 19. If the child support order was established before October 1, 2002, and the child is still in high school, the child support order may need to be modified to extend the child support obligation until the child turns 19.
The children are now living with me. Can I get my payments stopped immediately?
If you are paying child support and your child now lives with you, send a written statement to your case specialist stating that the child lives with you and begin the process of filing a motion to suspend your child support payment. A copy of the court order stating that there has been a change in custody or school enrollment information should be provided to show that you now have custody. The local office may investigate the matter and ask for additional information to document the change of custody. Any child support payments that are received after the request for a change is made may be placed in escrow and not distributed until the court makes a decision on the modification.
Will my tax refund be intercepted?
A non-custodial parent will be certified for state tax offset if the arrears are $150 or more, and are equal to or greater than two times the monthly support order. Certification for federal tax offset will occur if arrears are $500 or more, and are equal to or greater than two times the monthly support order.
What if I need to stop payment on a check I submitted?
If you discover that you need to stop payment on a child support check, you should immediately call the Customer Care Center at 1-800-332-6347 or visit your local child support office. You will receive a Stop Payment form with instructions for submitting it. If you do not report a stop payment you may be responsible for repayment of the transaction.
I have been served with a contempt of court petition and must appear for a hearing. What should I do?
You should appear in court on the date and time stated in the subpoena. Failure to appear for a court proceeding may result in a bench warrant or body attachment being issued for your arrest.
Who do I contact if I have problems with my court date?
Contact the Customer Care Center at 1-800-332-6347 for assistance
Can the judge put me in jail if I do not pay my child support on time?
If you have the ability to pay, a judge could find that you are in contempt of court and incarcerate you for failing to obey a court order requiring you to pay child support
I missed my court date and a bench warrant/body attachment has been issued for my arrest. Can I just turn myself in at the Sheriff’s Office?
You can turn yourself in at the Sheriff’s Office, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How do I get someone out of jail who is there for being behind in his/her child support payments?
A purge/bond amount is generally set on the warrant. You can contact the court or your local office for payment information.
I have never missed a payment. Why is there a warrant for my arrest?
If you miss a court date a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Even if you are up to date on your current payments there may be other reasons why you were subpoenaed back to court. For example, a modification may have been requested, or there may be an issue of paying medical expenses for your child.
If my support payments are coming out of my check (income withholding) I won’t have a warrant issued for me, right?
If you fail to appear for Court you should expect that the Court will issue a warrant for your arrest.
My driver’s license is suspended because I got behind on my child support payments. How do I get my license reinstated?
If you fall behind on your child support payments your driver’s license will be suspended automatically. Please visit your local office or contact the Customer Care Center at 800-332-6347 for more information.
I gave the custodial parent money last month for school clothes. Why doesn’t that count against my support?
The court order requires you to pay your support obligation through the child support agency. Any payments you make to the custodian directly or payments you make to someone else on the child’s behalf are gifts given in addition to the support you owe under the court order.
I have a court order to make an additional monthly payment towards the arrearage and I haven’t missed a payment. Why am I receiving notices that my income tax refund will be intercepted and that I will be reported to the credit bureau?
The Child Support Administration is required to use all available enforcement tools to collect support payments that are due. CSEA uses the following automated processes income withholding,federal and state tax refund intercepts, lottery winnings intercept, credit bureau reporting, garnishment of bank accounts, passport denial/suspension, driver’s license suspension, and occupational license suspension. These processes are triggered automatically and may be implemented whether or not you are currently paying. You may avoid these automated enforcement tools by paying your arrears in full.
I missed some payments and now my employer got a new wage withholding notice requiring an additional deduction from my pay for an arrears payment. How can you do this without a court order?
Maryland Family Law authorizes an amount not more than 25% of the current support obligation to be withheld to satisfy any arrearage that accrued since the support order. For example, if your regular child support payment is $400 per month, the amount to be withheld for arrears will be $100 per month.
The custodial parent does not let me see the child. Do I have to pay support?
CSEA recognizes the importance of visitation; however, CSEA does not provide custody or visitation services. The Court views the issues of support and visitation as separate matters. You can contact an attorney to assist you with establishing or enforcing visitation or you can obtain forms from the Clerk of the Circuit Court to file a motion on your own to establish or enforce visitation.