Maryland Child Support Administration needs to be customer-friendly and stop ignoring forgotten laws

Maryland Child Support Administration needs to be customer-friendly and stop ignoring forgotten laws

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The obligees and obligors in the Free State have wondered if the coming session of the Maryland General Assembly will see more action on legislative bills dealing with the Maryland Child Support Administration.

Since 2004, I have been working to reform Maryland’s child support system, spreading awareness about the Maryland State Assembly dealing with child support services.

In the 2006 session, the legendary Sen. Norman Stone, Jr., introduced SB 43 as a pre-filed bill on January 11, 2006. This bill went through the legislative process unanimously, and Gov. Ehrlich signed it into law (Chapter 423 of the Acts of 2006). This action made the Maryland Child Support Administration customer-friendly toward obligees and obligors.

Under the new 2006 law, the parent must notify the court of any change of address within 10 days after moving to a new address or any change of employment within 10 days after receiving the first earnings from the new employer. Notification to the court must be by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by filing in person at the court and getting proof of filing.

Under the old law, the parent had to send the address or employment change within 10 days to the court, the recipient, or, if a support enforcement agency receives support payments, the agency. Notification had to have been by certified mail, return receipt requested.

The rationale was that, during the 2005 summer, I had six consecutive weeks of being with my 15-year-old teen, so I decided to bring her to Ohio so she could spend with my parents and attend two different camps. Meanwhile, I needed a little job and got it at a country club. Under the pre-2006 law, I sent the name and address of the employer to the recipient, the court, and the agency via certified mail, return receipt requested.

Suddenly, after receiving the first earnings, I discovered that that employer was not responsible for deducting, but its management in Tennessee was. So, I sent the name and address of that management to the recipient, the court, and the agency via certified mail, return receipt requested.

After returning my teen to her mother in late summer, I sent the name and address of the new employer to the recipient, the court, and the agency via certified mail, return receipt requested.

Enough for paying certified mail. The 2006 law allows obligees and obligors to have more options.

Four legislative sessions later in 2010, Delegate Tony McConkey’s HB 1454 was passed unanimously on both floors and became law (Chapter 738 of the Acts of 2010.) The law allows recipients or obligors to provide notice of a change in address and/or employment either in person, by telephone, or through electronic communication.

But can you imagine that the Maryland Child Support Administration has yet to comply with Chapter 423/2006 and Chapter 738/2010)?

The Administration’s current FAQ states the following:

How do I change my name, address, telephone number, and employment information?

The order for support requires that the person paying child support notify the court within ten days of any change in address or employment. You must also notify your local child support office by contacting the Customer Care Center at 1-800-XXX-XXXX, or by notifying your local office in writing by mail or fax along with a clear copy of your photo ID. Please include your nine-digit case number on all correspondence.

On March 21, 2021, I received a response from the Administration. Let me quote one sentence from it:

“After review, the FAQ you have brought to our attention, “How do I change my: name, address, telephone number, and employment information?” clearly provides correct and relevant guidance to our customers. Nothing in the FAQ contradicts Maryland Law Article §10-131 and §10-132.”

Now it is your turn! Take an imaginary judicial robe from your closet and click §10-131 and §10-132. Please tell us what your ruling is.

Special Message to Current Obiligees and Obiligors: No Maryland law has authorized the Administration to establish the Customer Care Center. So you, by the current law, can be free to go to your court to report the changes in person. By the current law, you don’t need to fax, so you can call or email your local child support office. Importantly, please follow the existing laws mentioned above.

The Maryland Child Support Administration will join most customer-friendly states when it finally complies with the forgotten laws.

About The Author

Howard Gorrell

howardgorrell@aol.com

Howard Gorrell was the first complainant challenging the constitutionality of the apportion of congressional districts of the State of Maryland for the 2010 decade, based primarily on alleged partisan gerrymandering and insufficient consideration of communities of interest. See Gorrell v. O’Malley, 2012 WL 226919 (D. Md. Jan. 19, 2012)

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