It’s finally happened! Your beloved son or daughter has reached the ripe old age of 18, they have graduated from high school, or they have reached the age of 19 and have emancipated (grown old enough). If you are the one paying child support this means your legal obligation to pay child support is over. No matter your child custody situation, no matter whether you are going through a divorce, the State of Maryland no longer requires you to pay child support.
Now, there may be an agreement between you and the other parent to continue to pay. There may be specific reasons why you would still have to pay child support. But if that’s not the case and you still have the wage lien coming out of your check every pay period, you are probably not so happy. Even if you do not have a wage lien and you are paying the other parent directly, I can only imagine that the other parent is not so willing to stop those payments. The child support enforcement agency is not able to give legal advice and is not about to step in where the Court system should. So what do you do?
Get Help: Notify the Court of Emancipation
It is hard to believe, but the judicial system is not going to remember that your son or daughter has had a birthday. They are not going to know that you have a problem unless you make them aware.
This means it’s your responsibility to notify the Court that child support payments should no longer be taken from your paycheck. If you have been making payments after your child support obligation has ended, you have a problem. Keep in mind that you cannot “jump the gun” on this process. You have to wait until your child has emancipated before taking action. The time to move forward is the day after their birthday or the day after high school graduation.
Will I Be Reimbursed for Overpayment?
I often get questions about the overpayment, and whether that money can be reimbursed. The majority of the time the Court defines that as a contribution to your child and is not inclined to return it. If the money is still within the child support agency’s system and has yet to be deposited to the other parent’s account there is a slim, but unlikely chance to have it reimbursed. This is one more reason to contact the Courts as soon as possible.
The Courts in every county face hundreds if not thousands of legal matters each day. If you don’t inform them of your issue, it’s not going to resolve itself!
Corresponding with the Court requires specific language that can often be difficult to understand without assistance. If you have questions or need advice on the best way to move forward in this process, give us a call at 301-645-4100 to schedule a consultion.
Read more about Family Law and Child Support in our Free Legal Consumer Guide.