Maryland Child Support

How to apply for child support in Maryland

The state of Maryland believes that every child has an inherent right to receive financial, medical and emotional support from both of their parents even when the parents were never married. The Maryland Child Support Administration in the state agency tasked with helping children enforce this right. Parents can apply for child support service by filling out an application. Forms can be found online or in-person at your local child support office. There is also a non-refundable $15 application fee. Parents should send completed applications, a financial statement and the fee to their local child support office. A caseworker will reach back out to you with additional information once the application has been processed.
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How to Calculate Child Support in Maryland?

Maryland courts utilize a specific formula to calculate support payments. Courts analyze each parent’s income and then utilize state guidelines to determine an amount. The child’s medical and childcare needs may also be addressed in the obligation amount.

How to claim and pay child support?

State laws require paying parents to make payments through wage attachment. This means that your payments will be automatically deduced from your paycheck by your employer. If you change jobs, then you must immediately notify the child support agency. Parents who are receiving payments are automatically enrolled in an Electronic Payment Issuance Card (EPiC) program where payments are deposited onto the debit card.

Child Support Performance Stats for Maryland

Recent statistics gathered from fiscal year 2013 revealed that about one third of families in Maryland are not receiving their currently owed child support payments. Only about nine percent of all arrearages owed were collected and distributed by the state’s child support agency.

Statistics for Regular On-Time Payments Collection

Other Incentive Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Statewide Paternity Establishment (%) 90.79 91.14 90.07 90.96 89.96
IV-D Paternity Establishment (%) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Support Order Establishment (%) 83.41 85.06 85.21 84.55 84.85
Cost-Effectiveness ($) 4.18 4.65 4.21 4.54 4.65

Total Number of Children in the Child Support Program

Total Distributed Collections and Total Administrative Expenditures ($ Millions)

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total Distributed Collections ($) 514.93 518.53 528 533.04 534.75
Total Distributed to Families ($) 490.77 496.35 505.19 510.94 512.36
Total Administrative Expenditures ($) 132.92 120.62 135.35 126.9 124.41

Average Collections per Case with Collections

Can child support be paid off early

It may be possible to pay off payments early in a lump sum, but such a step is risky. As circumstances change, payments may be modified. Despite paying early, you may still end up owing money or paying too much when a modification occurs.

What Will happen if You fall Behind Child Support Payment?

  • Reporting late payments to credit agencies
  • Wage withholding
  • Interception of federal and state tax refunds
  • Denial or revocation of passport
  • Suspension of state-issued licenses
  • Liens on property
  • Seizure of assets
  • Criminal charges (jail time)

Can you get alimony and child support at the same time?

When you and your partner were married and are going through a divorce in Maryland, it is possible for one spouse to be awarded both alimony and child support at the same time.

Can you stop child support payments?

Under Maryland law, parents cannot stop making payments until the child has at least reached the age of majority. Support may continue until that child graduates high school.

Child Support and Taxes

Once support is established, many parents question how these payments will impact their state and federal tax returns. Only one parent has the right to claim the child as a dependent on their taxes, and Maryland courts usually give the parent with primary custody the right to this exemption. It’s important for parents to make this determination because confusion can lead to delayed or unaccepted tax returns.

Can child support payments be claimed on taxes in Maryland?

It’s not possible for parents to receive any sort of tax deduction for making court-ordered support payments. Paying parents shouldn’t claim them on their Maryland tax returns.

How does my child support affect my taxes in Maryland?

Support payments are tax-neutral. They won’t impact your taxes whether you are receiving them or making the payments.

Can child support be taken pre tax?

No. Laws in the state require parents to make payments through income withholding, but these payments are taken after income tax has already been applied.

Can child support Take my federal tax return?

Yes. If the non-custodial parent owes more than $500 and two times the monthly obligation, then certification for a federal tax offset will occur automatically.

Paternity Establishment

Paternity establishment in Maryland involves naming a male as the legal father of a child. When parents are married, paternity is assumed in the state. If parents aren’t married when the child is born, then the child is legally without a father until steps to establish paternity are initiated.

How do you establish paternity?

Paternity may be established voluntarily through an acknowledgement form signed by both parents. When contested, courts may order genetic testing to be conducted. The results of this test will be used by the court to order paternity establishment.

What rights does a father have if not on birth certificate?

Fathers who are not named on the birth certificate will not have a right to seek custody or visitation through court actions, and they don’t have any rights to be consulted about adoption.

Can a mother refuse me paternity test?

If paternity is established through marriage, then mothers can deny potential fathers a paternity test. If paternity is not yet established, then the alleged father can request genetic testing through the courts which will be conducted at your local child support office.

How to establish paternity if the father is deceased?

If the father is deceased, then obtaining a DNA sample can be challenging. Maryland courts may utilize a variety of methods to prove paternity when the father is deceased including examining any legal documentation concerning paternity, genetic samples from the father’s autopsy or using DNA samples from other family members related to the father.

Can a father get a paternity test without the mother?

Paternity tests conducted through the child support office requires a DNA sample from the mother, father and child. Fathers won’t be able to successfully complete a DNA test without the mother’s sample.

How long does a father have to establish paternity in Maryland?

Fathers may sign an Affidavit of Parentage (AOP) at the hospital or the local health department. The mother must also sign the AOP. The AOP can be signed up until the child’s 18th birthday.

Support order establishment

Paternity establishment provides important benefits to the child including the right to basic financial support from the non-custodial parent. Courts will uphold this right by establishing and enforcing child support orders. Maryland courts utilize state guidelines and the child’s needs to determine a fair obligation amount, and they order the parent to pay this amount each month to the child support agency.

State Child Support orders

The child support agency will then distribute the payments to the custodial parent. These orders are mandatory, and any changes must go through the child support agency and state courts. A failure to pay will be met with various enforcement measures, so it’s important to stay on top of this important obligation.

Can child support be modified?

Absolutely. Obligation amounts can change. Maryland courts recognize that circumstances, the child’s needs and the parent’s needs may change over time.

How do I file for a modification of child support?

Parents can file a request for modification by submitting a formal, written motion to the court. The court will then review the request and order a hearing when appropriate.

Can a child support order appealed?

A support order itself is very rarely appealed. If you disagree with a court’s decision about the amount of support ordered, enforcement measures levied against you, paternity establishment or custody arrangements, then you have a right to seek an appeal of those decisions which may impact your support order.

Do you need a lawyer to modify child support?

No. A lawyer can be a huge advantage in court, but you shouldn’t need an attorney to request a modification of your support order. Sometimes a hearing can be avoided entirely when parents are in agreement about the change.

When can you modify child support?

Parents have a right to modify child support when there has been a significant change in circumstances or when three years have passed since the order was last reviewed. Courts accept the following situations as a substantial change in circumstances: changes in daycare needs, changes in health care needs, changes in custody, changes in income or changes in the financial needs of the child.

Child support Enforcement

How long does the child support enforcement take?

The length of time enforcement takes will hinge on the amount of support that is overdue.

What to do when child support is not paid?

If you aren’t receiving payments, then contact the child support agency’s customer care center at 1-800-332-6347 immediately.

What Happens if I’m not paying Child support?

Enforcement actions may include but are not limited to wage garnishment and the revocation of drivers’ licenses.

How much overdue child support payment can be considered a felony?

The federal government considers willful evasion of child support debts a felony when due payments exceed $10,000 or have been overdue for more than two years.

Can child support debt be forgiven?

In Maryland, parents can enroll in a Payment Initiative Program to pay off past support debts. After 24 months of regular payments, it’s possible for the parent’s arrearages to be reduced to zero.

Support Order Termination

How do I stop a child support order?

File a request for modification with the courts.

When Can I Apply for Child Support Termination?

Child support orders will be in effect at least until the child reaches their 18th birthday. At that point, parents can petition courts to terminate the support order.

Can the custodial parent close a child support case?

The custodial parent can close a case when they aren’t receiving financial assistance from the government.

When Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

Maryland courts have the discretion to continue support orders until the child reaches 19 years old when they are still attending high school.

What is the legal age to stop paying child support?

The age of majority in Maryland is 18-years-old.

Maryland hearing rights

Mothers, children and potential fathers have a right to seek a paternity hearing when paternity is contested. When paternity is established, parties have the right to seek hearings regarding support orders, modification hearings and custody hearings.

Maryland Child Support Guidelines

Maryland state guidelines help courtrooms estimate the percentage of income they would spend on the child if the parents had never separated. Guidelines combine both parent’s income to determine a basic obligation. Next, they factor in additional expenses like medical support and daycare costs before coming to a final amount.

Maryland Child Support Coverage

What is child support meant to cover?

These payments are designed to cover a percentage of the child’s overall basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

Does Child Support Cover Medical Care Expenses?

Yes. Courts will take into account the health insurance costs of the child and any extraordinary medical expenses the child requires when calculating a basic obligation amount.

What if Both Parents are working, will Child Support Cover child care services?

Yes. Courts will take into account the cost of any education or work-related childcare expenses when determining a support amount.

Are Car Maintenance Costs Covered by Child Support?

No, these types of everyday expenses are expected to be incurred by the custodial parent.

What is Considered Basic Entertainment for Child Support?

Basic entertainment, for child support purposes, means age-appropriate activities geared at stimulating the child.

Are College expenses Covered by Child Support in Maryland?

No. Maryland legislatures attempted to pass legislation in 2011 that would require parents to support children through college, but the initiative failed. Maryland courts can’t order child support during the college years outside of an existing written agreement between parents.

Are Extracurricular Activities covered by Support?

Under Maryland law, usually a parent’s obligation does not include discretionary activities such as extracurricular activities unless they are necessary for the child’s special needs.

Are School Related Costs Covered by Child Support?

Basic school-related costs would be considered a mandatory expense for parents, so they can be covered through support payments.

Maryland Child Support Offices

Institution name Physical address Email address Phone number Website
Child Support Services - Maryland Department of Human Resources 311 W Saratoga St, Baltimore, MD N/A 800-332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/child-support-services/

County Child Support Offices in MD

County name Institution name Physical address Email address Phone number Website
Allegany County Allegany County, MD Office of Child Support 1 Frederick Street, Cumberland, Maryland 21502 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/allegany-county/
Anne Arundel County Anne Arundel County, MD Office of Child Support 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis, MD 21401 aacounty.dhs@maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/anne-arundel-county/
Baltimore City Baltimore City East, MD Office of Child Support 1 North Charles Street, 5th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/child-support-services/contact-csa/
Baltimore City Baltimore City West, MD Office of Child Support Mondawmin Mall, 2401 Liberty Heights Ave., Suite 4645, Baltimore, MD 21215 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/child-support-services/contact-csa/
Baltimore County Baltimore County, MD Office of Child Support 170 W. Ridgely Road, Suite 200, Lutherville, Maryland N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/baltimore-county/
Calvert County Calvert County, MD Office of Child Support 200 Duke Street, Goldstein District Court/multi Service Center, Prince Frederick, Maryland 20678 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/calvert-county/
Caroline County Caroline County, MD Office of Child Support 300 Market Street, Denton, Maryland 21629 caroline.dss@maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/caroline-county/
Carroll County Carroll County, MD Office of Child Support 1232 Tech Court , Westminister, Maryland 21157 dlcarrolldept_dhr@maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/carroll-county/
Cecil County Cecil County, MD Office of Child Support 170 East Main Street, Elkton, Maryland 21921 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/cecil-county/
Charles County Charles County, MD Office of Child Support 200 Kent Avenue, LaPlata, Maryland 20646 charles.codss@maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/charles-county/
Dorchester County Dorchester County, MD Office of Child Support 627 Race Street, Cambridge, MD 21613 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/dorchester-county/
Frederick County Frederick County, MD Office of Child Support 1888 North Market Street, Frederick, Maryland 21701 FCDSS.info@maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/frederick-county/
Garrett County Garrett County, MD Office of Child Support 12578 Garrett Highway, Oakland, Maryland 21550 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/garrett-county/
Harford County Harford County, MD Office of Child Support 101 South Main Street, Suite 200, Bel Air, Maryland 21014 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/harford-county/
Howard County Howard County, MD Office of Child Support 7121 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21046 howco.dss@maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/howard-county/
Kent County Kent County, MD Office of Child Support 315 High Street, Suite 208, Chestertown, Maryland 21620 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/kent-county/
Montgomery County Montgomery County, MD Office of Child Support 51 Monroe Street, Suite 811 9th Floor, Rockville, Maryland 20850 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/montgomery-county/
Prince George's County Prince George's County, MD Office of Child Support 4235 28th Avenue, Suite 135, Temple Hills, Maryland 20748 pgcdss@dhr.state.md.us 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/prince-georges-county/
Queen Anne's County Queen Anne's County, MD Office of Child Support 125 Comet Drive, Centreville, Maryland 21617 qac.user@maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/queen-annes-county/
Somerset County Somerset County, MD Office of Child Support 30397 Mount Vernon Road, P.O. Box 369, Princess Anne, Maryland 21853 somerset.dss@maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/somerset-county/
St. Mary's County St. Mary's County, MD Office of Child Support 23110 Leonard Hall Dr., P.O. Box 509 , Leonardtown, Maryland 20650 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/st-marys-county/
Talbot County Talbot County, MD Office of Child Support 301 Bay Street, Unit 5, Easton, Maryland 21601 talbot.customer@Maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/talbot-county/
Washington County Washington County, MD Office of Child Support 122 North Potomac Street, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/washington-county/
Wicomico County Wicomico County, MD Office of Child Support 31901 Tri-County Way, Suite 101, Salisbury, MD 21801 wicodss.county@maryland.gov 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/wicomico-county/
Worcester County Worcester County, MD Office of Child Support 424 West Market Street, Suite B, Snow Hill, Maryland 21863 N/A 1(800) 332-6347 http://dhr.maryland.gov/local-offices/worcester-county/