Maryland Child Support Collections and Fees
While almost any type of income is subject to wage garnishment in Maryland, employers are not required to report a lump-sum payment to the Maryland Child Support Enforcement Agency. Although wage garnishment in Maryland is more lax than other states in this regard, the employer must remember that there are heavy fines and liabilities associated with failing to enforce wage garnishment after they have been served with an order. Further, when an employee who is subject to child support collection stops working for the employer, the employer must notify the issuing agency of this change.
Income Subject to Withholding for Child Support Garnishment
When determining income for purposes of a support order, you must consider any type of income as being subject to the order. Maryland defines "income" as any form of periodic payment to an individual. This includes, but is not limited to, tips, commissions or fees, an annuity or pension, Social Security payments, and workers' compensation or unemployment insurance benefits. Some earnings are protected by a maximum withholding limit, per the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA).
Bonuses and Other Lump Sum Payments
Employers are not required to report a lump-sum payment owed to an employee subject to a support order issued in Maryland.
Termination of Employment
Upon an employee's termination, the employer must send a copy of the order, their company name, employee name and last known address, date of termination, and new employer's address (if known) to the Child Support Enforcement Agency, and/or the contact person on the order. This information must be sent within ten days of the date of termination. If the employee is re-hired, the employer must reinstate the support order, unless the issuing agency sent them a release.
To make up the costs of enforcing a support order, employers may charge a maximum of $2 for each deduction withheld from their employee's paycheck. This administrative fee must come out of the employee's earnings, and not the support payment itself. Further, the total fee and the support payment may never exceed the maximum withholding limit.
Penalty for Noncompliance
If an employer fails to withhold or remit payments from an employee assigned to a support order, the recipient or agency can bring a civil action against the employer. The employer may be held liable for damages for all payments that they failed to withhold or remit.
For more information, contact the Maryland State Office of Child Support:
Department of Human Resources
Child Support Enforcement Administration
311 West Saratoga St., 3rd Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (410) 767-7043
Fax: (410) 333-6264