COVID-19 Information Update
The Child Support Administration has a frequently asked questions page that has information about economic impact payments through the CARES Act (or stimulus payments), including information about how you will know if your stimulus payment was intercepted for child support, what to do if you believe that your stimulus payment should not have been intercepted, and information for a parent who receives a stimulus payment but does not owe child support.
Topics on this page
- How much of my earnings can be garnished for failure to pay child support or alimony?
- Can my bank account be garnished?
- What other sources of income can be taken if I don't make child support payments?
How much of my earnings can be garnished for failure to pay child support or alimony?
Maryland law follows the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act. This Act allows more of your earnings to be taken for child support or alimony than for ordinary debts. For ordinary debts, the maximum that could be garnished would be approximately 20 to 25 percent of your earnings. For child support or alimony, the maximum that can be taken out of your check is either 50 or 60 percent, depending on whether you are in arrears and if you have another spouse or child to support:
- If you do not have another spouse or child to support, up to 60 percent of your after-tax earnings can be garnished, or 65 percent if you are more than 12 weeks behind when the earnings withholding order is issued.
- If you are supporting another spouse or child, the court can order 50 per cent of your earnings garnished, or 55 per cent if you are more than 12 weeks behind.
In Maryland, your employer is allowed to deduct an additional $2 for each deduction the employer is required to make under an earnings withholding order or earnings withholding notice.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Family Law § 10-128(a)(2)(iii)
Can my bank account be garnished?
In Maryland, a Writ of Garnishment can be issued for a bank account. Once the bank is served with the Writ, the bank freezes your bank account. This means that you will not be able to access money in the account (unless the amount in the account exceeds the amount of the garnishment). Learn more about bank garnishment.
Generally, for the bank garnishment, you may entitled to certain exemptions. However, for child support, you are considered to be an "obligor" rather than a "debtor." A "debtor" is someone who simply owes money to another. An "obligor" is someone who must pay money arising out of a separate legal duty. This distinction between a "debtor" and an "obligor" means that the exemptions provided to "debtors" are not available for "obligors."
What other sources of income can be taken if I don’t make child support payments?
If you fail to make child support or alimony payments, Maryland law allows the person you owe to ask the court for an earnings withholding order, which will take the payments you owe out of your paycheck, some pensions, unemployment benefits, Social Security or worker’s compensation payments.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Family Law §10-101