How Does Maryland Address Nonpayment of Spousal or Child Support?
Under Maryland family law, certain individuals are required to make spousal or child support payments. If such an individual fails to make court-ordered support payments, they can face various consequences under Maryland law, including but not limited to prison time and hefty fines.
Penalties for Failure to Pay Spousal Support
Maryland Code, Family Law Section 10-201 requires a person to satisfy any court-ordered spousal support payments. Any person who fails to satisfy this responsibility — absent good cause — can face criminal sanctions.
Specifically, a failure to pay spousal support is a misdemeanor offense. Upon conviction, the offender can face a maximum sentence of three years in prison and $100 in fines. Any fines levied under this section can be diverted to the spouse who was supposed to receive support.
On the other hand, Maryland Code, Family Law Section 10-202 provides an alternative to criminal penalties. Upon conviction for a failure to pay spousal support — or upon the written consent of the offender — the Maryland courts can establish a payment plan for outstanding spousal support obligations.
These payment plans last for three years. During this time period, the offender is on probation and responsible for making on-time payments. Any failure to satisfy the payment plan or probationary terms can result in the maximum criminal consequences under Maryland law.
Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support
Maryland Code, Family Law Section 10-203 requires a person to care for their minor children and satisfy any court-ordered child support payments. Any person who fails to satisfy these responsibilities — absent good cause — can face criminal sanctions.
Precisely, deserting or failing to support a child is a misdemeanor offense. If convicted for this misdemeanor, the offender can face imprisonment for up to three years and fines up to $100.
That being said, Maryland Code, Family Law Section 10-204 outlines a different penalty structure that avoids criminal punishment. Under this section, upon a conviction for failure to pay child support — or upon the written consent of the offender — the Maryland courts can establish a three-year payment plan. As noted previously, the offender must satisfy all aspects of the payment and probation plans. Otherwise, they can face the maximum levels of criminal punishment under Maryland law.
Wage Garnishment for Failure to Pay Support
Maryland Code, Family Law Section 10-206 establishes that spousal or child support orders are eligible for wage garnishment. Under this section, an order to pay spousal or child support constitutes a lien on earnings. With proper notice, the Maryland courts are allowed to garnish a person’s wages or earnings to satisfy spousal or child support obligations.
Let Us Help You Today
If you need legal help with spousal or child support in Maryland, it can be distinctly valuable to reach out to an experienced family law attorney. The Bel Air child support attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including spousal and child support. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.