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Child support enforcement a federal priority

When families in Maryland have to deal with issues related to unpaid child support, the effect on the children involved can be significant, especially when their parent struggles to make ends meet and keep the bills paid. Because of the potential for serious impact on the well-being of the children involved, child support enforcement against delinquent parents is a major priority for federal and state agencies. One of the most effective means of successfully collecting unpaid child support has been wage garnishment and payroll collection.

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is working with state agencies, employers and payroll companies to further improve the effectiveness of the payroll withholding process. During fiscal year 2016, the agency oversaw the collection of $33 billion in child support, with 75 percent of that amount collected through payroll withholding. However, despite the success of the program, confusion can lead to enforcement difficulties. For example, many state agencies are billed by third-party payroll companies after requesting employment verification of a parent. The OCSE is working to ensure that billing is properly directed to employers.

Employee identification can also be an issue in collecting overdue child support. Employers are required to report all new hires and follow up with quarterly wage reports. However, due to the use of varying identification numbers, people can fall through the cracks; therefore, the OCSE is working to develop a more streamlined system that will also ensure reporting requirements are followed.

Improving the technologies used in child support enforcement can be important to achieving results for families struggling to cover everyday expenses due to unpaid support costs. For people in this situation, working with a family law attorney may help them to take action and pursue meaningful enforcement of an existing child support order, including through payroll deductions or other automated systems that can ensure effective collection.

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