Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that a nationwide shortfall of as much as $14 billion in child support due goes unpaid annually. Divided up, that translates to children not receiving as much as a third of the money that is supposed to pay for their needs. In Maryland and other states, courts each year award child support to custodial parents. But in 2011, the figures show, less than half of all parents due child support payments actually got all the money that they were supposed to receive.
Many custodial parents don't know how to go about collecting support payments that are due them, although a variety of collection mechanisms exist, including garnishment of wages or bank accounts, court orders and other methods. Family law attorneys can guide a custodial parent owed money through any complexities of the system.
When a noncustodial parent, due to circumstances beyond their control, such as job loss or major illness or disability, is unable to make payments at the level of a prior court order's mandate, they should consider asking their attorney to go to court to seek a modification of the amount. The worst thing to do is to do nothing, let the unpaid child support mount up and not explain the circumstances to anyone.
One program in Maryland, in fact, alleviates some of the past child support debt that a non-custodial parent may have to the state provided that they now consistently pay the current support payments so that their children can now be adequately taken care of. An experienced family law attorney may be able to provide more information about this program.
Los Angeles Times, "Billions of dollars in child support go unpaid yearly" Emily Alpert Reyes, Nov. 20, 2013