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Criminal Nonsupport & Desertion in Maryland Family Law

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When a Maryland court orders someone to pay spousal support or child support, that person must satisfy any corresponding financial obligations. If a person fails to make on-time payments as required by the courts, Maryland law can impose criminal charges and penalties. Though with all support payments, the Maryland courts must consider the financial circumstances of all parties involved.

Failure to Pay Spousal Support

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 10-201 establishes the penalties for failing to pay spousal support. Absent good cause, a person must make regular and timely spousal support payments, as ordered by the courts. If a person fails to satisfy these financial obligations, they can face criminal charges under Maryland law.

A conviction under Section 10-201 qualifies as a misdemeanor offense. The maximum punishment for this offense includes 36 months in prison and $100 in fines. Additionally, the Maryland courts may require the offender to pay the fine directly to the recipient of support payments, in whole or in part.

That being said, Maryland Code of Family Law Section 10-202 authorizes the state courts to impose a more lenient sentence. Instead of or in addition to ordering criminal penalties, the Maryland courts may:

  • Institute a three-year payment plan for the payment of alimony or spousal support; and
  • Place the offender on probation for a three-year period.

If the offender fails to make the required payments or violates the terms of their probation, the Maryland courts may impose the maximum criminal punishment described previously.

Failure to Pay Child Support

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 10-203 establishes the penalties for neglecting to make required child support payments or deserting a minor child. Unless someone has just cause, they must make all court-ordered payments for the support of their minor children. If a person fails to make on-time and regular payments, or deserts their minor child, they may face criminal charges under Maryland law.

Any person convicted under Section 10-203 is guilty of a misdemeanor in Maryland. Upon conviction, the offender can face a maximum penalty of imprisonment for three years and fines up to $100.

Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 10-204, however, the state courts have the discretion to order additional or alternative penalties. Instead of or in addition to ordering criminal penalties, the Maryland courts may:

  • Require the offender to pay child support over a three-year period; or
  • Order the offender to make child support payments according to a valid agreement; and
  • Place the offender on probation for a three-year period.

The offender must adhere strictly to their obligations during this probationary period. Otherwise, the maximum criminal penalties under Maryland law.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have legal questions about alimony, child support, or other parts of Maryland family law, it can be remarkably constructive to reach out to a sensible Bel Air family lawyer. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including alimony and child support. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.

https://www.stclaw.net/child-support-liens-in-maryland/

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