Q: My ex has over 24k I. Arrears( childsupport). How to go about getting a judgement. We both reside in maryland .
(1) Take your court order for child support to the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) in the county in Maryland or City of Baltimore where the order was entered, and have them open a case. If the child support order was entered in another state (you list Washngton DC in your question but say you both reside in MD), you can either start the case in the equivalent office in that other state or DC, which will then transfer it to MD, or you can obtain an "exemplified copy" (a triple seal certified copy) of the order, judgment and proceedings in the original court action and record/file it in the county or City of Baltimore where you, the child, or he resides. The OCSE will file the appropriate motions for you, as well as act to enforce any orders and pursue collection remedies on your behalf. It is possible that if you go to your local OCSE location in Maryland that they will reach out to the out-of-state court to obtain the exemplified copy of proceedings for you.
(2) File your own motion to enforce the child support order and to hold the nonpaying parent in contempt of that order in the Maryland court having jurisdiction over the case (circuit court where originally entered), or if not originally entered in a Maryland court, then follow the procedure above for obtaining an "exemplified copy" of the proceedings and order entered in the out-of-state court and file/record it together with your motion in the the circuit court having jurisdiction over the place where you, the child or the non-paying parent resides.
The non-paying parent will need to be served with the motion and a show cause order to appear and respond to the contempt petition. The court will hold a hearing, and if not resolved by agreement, then a judgment will be entered for the arrearages, and the defendant ordered to pay what his financial condition and means allowm him to pay, and if he fails to pay what the court determines he is capable of paying, he may be further punished by contempt and put in jail. The judgment for arrearages may be enforced like any civil judgment, such as garnishment of his wages, attachment of bank accounts, etc. The ongoing child support the court determines he has the means to pay can be made into an earnings withholding order against his current wages. If you can navigate these proceedings on your own you can try to do so, but it is not easy (there are self-help forms and assistance for self-represented litigants at the circuit court family law division of the courts); or if you have the money, you can hire private counsel; or you can get free representation through the OCSE. The OCSE process takes longer and they may not be as diligent to follow up as you or a private lawyer would, but they also work for you and in cases where the nonpaying parent has no identifiable employer (he gets paid in cash under the table, e.g.,) and has no bank accounts (or changes them to avoid attachment) collecting from him may be a long and difficult slog. Spending more money to collect blood from a stone may not be in your best interest, so hiring private counsel may not be a viable option for you.
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