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Maryland authorities conduct statewide child support sweep

Authorities from a number of sheriff's offices and the Maryland State Police recently conducted a statewide sweep aimed at detaining noncustodial parents with warrants for failing to pay child support. In Prince George's County alone, a team of 11 deputies with the Child Support Enforcement Division of the sheriff's office investigated 286 warrants. Of these, the deputies arrested 51 suspects who collectively owe back child support in excess of $343,000. They also closed 100 writs and warrants involving child support.

While noncustodial parents who owe relatively small amounts of child support are generally safe from an operation such as this, those with larger delinquencies can face serious legal penalties. An individual who fails to pay child support in Maryland can have his or her wages garnished, lose some or all of his or her tax refund and may even face jail time in some cases. This makes it important for Maryland parents who have difficulty making scheduled payments to seek legal assistance. Some may able to secure a child support modification, reducing the total amount they are required to pay each month.

The operation marked Maryland's third annual Father's Day Warrant Sweep, which was held over the course of three days. According to a representative for the sheriff's office of one county participating in the initiative, 2012's effort resulted in a record high number of arrests. Authorities with the Maryland CSED introduced the program, which is funded by county and federal grants, in order to eliminate open child support warrants. A spokesperson with the Prince George's County office said there are 562 such warrants in the county.

Police say they schedule the sweep near Father's Day to serve as a kind of wake-up call. They also stressed that the collection and enforcement of child support is "important to the well-being of families and children."

Source: Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, "Deputies assist in Father's Day warrant sweeps," Daniel J. Gross, June 22, 2012

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