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Thousands of parents in Maryland are behind on child support

When it comes to making child support payments on time or at all, numerous noncustodial parents in Maryland and across the country are really struggling. Why is this the case? Can anything be done to help these parents meet their child support obligations?

In the United States, the amount owed in unpaid child support has reached $113 billion. In Maryland, in an area of only four zip codes, nearly 5,000 people are behind on payments, and the amount of child support that is over due is approximately $30 million. Of that $30 million, the majority of the funds are actually owed to the state now, as numerous custodial parents have had to rely on welfare rather than the support payments they are supposed to be receiving.

Why are so many people behind on paying child support? There are enforcement options, but those responsible for carrying them out are often finding that numerous noncustodial parents simply do not have the money to meet their obligations. It is believed that the further behind in payments these individuals fall, the greater the odds that support will not be paid. Maryland is working on a program to help with this, however.

Maryland is working on providing child support debt forgiveness, in combination with modifying support orders. This will allow those behind on payments to receive a fresh start of sorts, and grant them child support orders that are more affordable, as they will be based on their current incomes. When financial circumstances do change, those parents who are behind on paying child support can seek legal assistance as they pursue court orders that are within their budgets.

Source: npr.org, "Some States Are Cutting Poor Dads A Deal On Unpaid Child Support", Jennifer Ludden, Nov. 20, 2015

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