Maryland Divorce & Family Law Attorneys
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Can Someone Be Held In Contempt for Failure to Pay Child Support?

What are the penalties for not paying child support? In Maryland divorce and child support cases, there are different avenues that parties can take to ensure that everyone complies with the court’s decisions and rulings. One option is to file a petition of contempt if one party is not in compliance. Contempt of court in Maryland is the court’s way of enforcing judgments when people disobey the orders. Not paying child support in Maryland could result in contempt of court.

What are the consequences of not paying child support?

When a judge has ordered child support, custody or alimony, both parties must comply with the requirements listed in the order. To bring disobedience to the court’s attention, the opposing party will have to file a petition for contempt with the Family Division and Civil Departments of the Maryland court.

There are other consequences possible in child support and family law cases around the country including liens, warrants, license suspension, or freezing bank accounts. In this post, we’ll explore contempt of court in particular as it pertains to Maryland child support cases.

What is the punishment for contempt of court?

There are two different types of contempt, civil and criminal. In a Maryland divorce or custody case, contempt of court for not paying child support would be considered civil. The judge has the power to order the party that doesn’t comply with the order to pay fines or even go to jail.  Sometimes in civil contempt cases the judge may even order monetary compensation to be paid by to the other party. The person in question could prevent these punishments by complying with the original order.

How to file contempt of court for child support in Maryland

Filing the petition doesn’t always mean the other party will have to comply; it simply means that the judge will consider it. Non-compliance must be proven by the petitioner before the individual can be found in contempt.  A Maryland family lawyer is helpful in handling these situations.

Sometimes there are special circumstances why a person doesn’t comply with a court order. If someone suspects that a petition of contempt is going to be brought against them, whether they believe they are justified or not, it is important for that person to be represented by a Maryland family attorney before the problem escalates. While it is helpful to use the divorce lawyer that handled the case originally and is familiar with its background, it is not required.

For more information about Maryland child support laws and how they affect you, contact a Child Support lawyer at Hecht & Associates located in Rockville, MD at 301-587-2099 to set up a consultation appointment.