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Maryland child support collections needs some work

Although Maryland is doing a better job of collecting owed child support payments, the state is still not collecting near what it should. According to auditors, Maryland is only collecting less than one-third of the $1.8 billion that is owed by the non-custodial parents. This child support money is needed by the custodial parents to properly care for their children.

However, according to the auditors, there is good news in that the Child Support Enforcement Administration of the Department of Human Resources in Maryland properly corrected the 11 problems that the auditors found four years ago. Also, there are substantially fewer payments that are in arrears this time. The auditors did have some suggestions for improvement.

They found that the agency failed to ensure that local offices in the state followed up with employers who did not withhold wages for back payments and that, in at least 4,000 of these cases, the offenders owed at least $500 in back payment, which totals $48.5 million. They also failed to use tools such as the right to suspend a driver's license or other occupational licensees. This audit covered the time period from October 2010 to May 2014.

Several of the found problems are handled by local offices and some are even outsourced to people who cannot be properly monitored. The Human Resources Secretary mostly agreed with the findings of the audit, and he documented action that has already been taken to correct some of those problems. Maryland residents who find themselves waiting on payments that never come may wish to speak to an attorney to determine options available for collection. Also, those who are ordered to pay child support but have gotten behind through no fault of their own may wish to speak to an attorney about modifying their child support orders.

Source: baltimorepostexaminer.com, "Maryland child support collection needs improvement", July 7, 2015

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