Maryland lags behind other states in revised child support guidelines

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As the Maryland General Assembly is about to begin Wednesday, its website lists 220 pre-tabled Senate bills and 200 pre-tabled House bills. After clicking on “Child Support” in the search field, you will see “No data available in table”.

No surprise because the main child support lawmaker, Del. Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery, was appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to serve as associate judge of the Montgomery County Circuit Court. Wearing a judicial robe causes her to no longer advocate for changes in child support laws before the House Judiciary Committee. However, a Maryland judge can testify if necessary.

The gist of this commentary is to tell Maryland’s creditors (formerly the term “custodians”) and debtors (formerly the word “non-custodians”) that “due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Federal Child Support Agency Law enforcement allowed state child support programs to seek a waiver to extend the federal government’s required four-year review of child support guidelines for children. Maryland received a two-year extension until December 2022, ”according to the Child Support Administration (CSA) of the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) in its August 31, 2020 email sent to me.

The quadrennial review demanded by the federal government? In 1990, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation establishing guidelines in all child support cases. Effective January 1, 1993 and at least every four years after that date (the last review completed in 2016), the Child Support Administration must review the Child Support Guidelines every four years. to ensure that their claim determines the appropriate child support amounts. (45 CFR 302.56 (e) and MD Family Law §12? 202 (c) (1).)

Historically, in accordance with federal law to prevent the loss of federal funds, DHS submitted to the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House the Quadrennial Review on December 31, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Unfortunately for divorced parents, the Maryland legislature had adjusted the adjustment to Maryland’s child support guidelines upwards just right Once in 32 years. The guidelines were last revised in 2010.

What happened to the 2016 exam? The basic child support schedule from the last review in 2016, outlined in the SB 763 of 2019 (Child Support Guidelines – Revision), was introduced two years, one month and five days after the completion of the 2016 quadrennial review. But Chairman Bobby Zirkin of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee blocked it in 2019 with the six other Dumais child support bills passed by the House.

The 2020 report? The administration of child support has been granted a two-year extension, as mentioned above. The review will likely be sent to the President and Speaker of the Senate in early 2023.

It could receive cheers from middle-income debtors, who see another year without an increase in child support payments. At the same time, he would hear the moans of low-income debtors, who have lost their jobs and homes due to COVID, so they are struggling to pay child support on time. However, that could mean that Justice Dumais could see more applications to change child support in her first year in court.

Other states? Most states completed their quadrennial reviews before the pandemic. After receiving a one-year (not two-year) extension from the Federal Child Support Enforcement Office, the South Dakota Child Support Commission held its first meeting on July 29 to plan your calendar for the next few months.

Massachusetts’ new child support guidelines came into effect on October 4. The Alabama Advisory Committee on Child Support Guidelines and Enforcement held a web meeting on October 1. On April 5, the governor of New Mexico signed a law that updates the table of child support guidelines. to prevent the Land of Enchantment from losing $ 147.5 million in federal funding: $ 122.6 million for the Temporary Assistance for Low-Income Families (TANF) program and $ 24.9 million in funding of the child support program.

Back in Maryland, the Child Support Administration informed me on December 16 that “the information on the Quadrennial Review Committee will also be extended until the next study is completed for the Maryland Review and Analysis. “. Did the CSA get a two-year grant from the federal agency?

(The writer has worked on reforming Maryland’s child support system since 2004.)

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