Child Support Liens in Maryland
When a Maryland state court orders an award of child support payments, a parent must satisfy their obligations in a regular and timely fashion. When a parent fails to make the required payments, Maryland law creates a child support lien.
These liens attach to a person’s real and personal property and allow the Maryland Child Support Administration (the Administration) to request legal enforcement. In the most severe cases, a Maryland state court can even order the sale of a person’s property for unpaid child support.
Notice of Child Support Liens
Upon creation of a child support lien, Maryland Code of Family Law Section 10-140 requires the Administration to notify the:
- Parent who is responsible for paying child support; and
- Parent who is owed child support payments.
Additionally, Maryland Code of Family Law Section 10-141 enables the Administration to file a notice of a child support lien with a state court clerk. Upon receipt of such a notice, the clerk must:
- Index the lien in the court records;
- Register the lien in the court docket;
- Include certain details, including date, amount, and responsible party.
Once notice is filed with a state circuit court, a child support lien has the same legal force as a judgment lien. Moreover, these liens can be enforced in accordance with the Maryland Code and Court Rules.
Timeline of Child Support Liens
A child support lien established under Section 10-140 continues in full force until certain conditions arise. These liens only terminate when:
- Satisfied by payment;
- Released by the Administration as unenforceable or uncollectible; or
- Released by the order of a court of law.
Unless satisfied or released, a child support lien can exist for as long as necessary to complete the legal enforcement process.
Legal Enforcement of Child Support Liens
When a person refuses to make their required payments, Maryland Code of Family Law Section 10-142 permits the state courts to intervene. The Administration jumpstarts this process by filing a legal action and requesting enforcement of the lien. Then an appropriate state court reviews the merits of the case and adjudicates the claims involved. Finally, the court decides whether or not enforcement is appropriate.
When deciding not to enforce a child support lien, the court will order a release. On the other hand, when enforcing a child support lien, it is possible for a Maryland state court to:
- Order the sale of personal or real property; or
- Assign the rights to personal or real property; and
- Allocate the sale proceeds to the Administration or other indebted party.
Contact Us Today for Professional Help
If you have legal questions about child support or other aspects of family law in Maryland, it can be significantly helpful to consult with a trusted Bel Air family law attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including child support. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.