March 4, 2008 General 0

Early in the session of Maryland’s General Assembly, several bills were introduced dealing with Child Support related issues. A list of the bills can be found on the state’s website. Bills were introduced in both the house and the senate to support the custodial parents who are trying to collect child support that is owed to them. Regrettably, the elected officials decided it would be in the best interest of the parties to not force the non-custodial parents to pay their obligations by passing stricter legislation than the current guidelines that are only marginally enforced.

In the state of Maryland, non-custodial parents who do not meet their obligation to pay the court awarded child support are given 60 days of non-compliance before the first enforcement levels begin – driver’s license suspension. Then, it takes about 60 more days for the driver’s license of the debtor to actually be suspended. The state may or may not report the debt to a credit agency. If the case evolves to the point of a contempt of court charge, the non-custodial parent only needs to provide proof of employment and a promise to pay the child support and the state will reinstate the driver’s license and then move to withdraw the contempt of court charge. A couple months later, the non-custodial parent stops working and then the process starts all over again.

Ultimately, who suffers in this process? The child. Yes, the child support payments are sent to the custodial parent, however, they are sent so that the custodial parent can maintain the same level of care (financially) as if the biological mother and father were still together, raising the child under the same roof. So if the state of Maryland is not encouraging parents to pay their child support obligations, who are they really favoring?

Perhaps, the state legislators need to spend a little more time on the well being of the residents instead of matters like this: