What happens in a protective order case when you are asked to pay “support” money when the protective order lasts? Or you require money to support yourself and your family after the court has ordered the parent of your children out of the house for one year.

Support for minor children or of a spouse is called Emergency Family Maintenance (EFM)?

Under Md. Family Law Code Ann. § 4-506 a judge may:

“award emergency family maintenance as necessary to support any person eligible for relief to whom the respondent has a duty of support under this article, including an immediate and continuing withholding order on all earnings of the respondent in the amount of the ordered emergency family maintenance in accordance with the procedures specified in Title 10, Subtitle 1, Part III of this article.”

This means that the judge can order the respondent to pay for expenses, like the monthly mortgage or rent payments, food bills, gas and electric bills, and any other regular living expenses.  The judge can also order child support for up to one year if there are minor children from the relationship.

While the procedure is similar to the determination of alimony or child support in a divorce case, there are major differences between alimony/child support and EFM because the EFM lasts only one year. There are other differences.

Before a court orders emergency family maintenance, he/she will need to determine how much the respondent should pay.  Here is a helpful form that will assist you in giving the judge specific information about your financial resources. https://www.courts.state.md.us/sites/default/files/court-forms/courtforms/joint/ccdcdv004.pdf/ccdcdv004.pdf

The financial statement contains personal but relevant information about the parties’ finances.  While you are not required to complete this form, a completed Financial Statement is filed as a document containing restricted information and will only be made available to the judge, the respondent (or the respondent’s attorney), and other court personnel who may need to process it.

To help the court fashion the correct amount of EF,  Petitioners should know their monthly income and employer information, monthly expenses that include mortgage/rent, food, transportation, utilities, and healthcare and childcare expenses.

It is better not to guess. You may, for example, want to look at your family’s expenses for the past year and divide the expenses by 12. After that, divide the monthly expense by 4 ( if you have a family of four) to determine the monthly expenses for each person. The Petitioner’s assets and debts must also be provided to the court.

A request for Emergency Family Maintenance adds another important layer to the protective order process.  You’ll want to prepare a statement that is accurate and which neither overstates nor under-represents your income and expenses. An experienced domestic violence attorney who regularly assists clients in domestic violence cases can be a great help to either a Petitioner or a respondent involved in a protective order and emergency family maintenance case.  Undoubtedly you will want the court to have an accurate picture of your financial resources before he/she orders the payment of support money.