Detroit Polygamist Podiatrist Faces Jail Time for Non-Payment of Child Support

Kenneth Mitchell, a prominent Detroit podiatrist, made national headlines when it was revealed that he was married to three women at the same time. Now, after his wife in Michigan filed for an annulment and child support, a judge in Oakland, California, has threatened to send Mitchell to jail if he does not pay child support soon.

Polygamist Told to Pay Child Support or Go to Jail

Faye Miller, Mitchell's wife in Rochester Hills, Michigan, discovered that her husband had two additional wives after searching for more information on her often-absent husband on the Internet. After learning that he had a wife in California and another in Canada, Miller filed for an annulment of her marriage to Mitchell and also for child support for their two children.

A judge ordered Mitchell to pay $4,000 a month in interim child support and household expenses until a hearing scheduled for January 2011 in Oakland County Circuit Court. However, Mitchell did not make the ordered payments and now faces the legal consequences of non-payment. An Oakland judge said Mitchell must pay $3,500 in attorney's fees and $10,000 for back child support and household expenses or spend 14 days in the Oakland County Jail.

Consequences of Non-Payment of Child Support in Michigan

Like Mitchell, people in Michigan who do not pay court-ordered child support may face significant consequences. The Michigan Department of Human Services uses many tools to collect child support payments, including the possibility of jail time.

If a person does not pay his or her court-ordered child support, an official from the State Circuit Court or the Department of Human Services can file a lien against the personal, real property or financial assets of an individual for the collection of child support. In addition, state officials can revoke professional licenses, driver's licenses and hunting or fishing licenses for non-payment of child support.

If those actions are ineffective, an individual who owes child support may be ordered to appear in court and pay a bond or be sent to jail. In some extreme instances, a case may be referred to the Attorney General for criminal prosecution of felony non-support.

Marriage Annulment in Michigan

Individuals are most often ordered to pay child support following a divorce. However, child support also may be ordered when a marriage is annulled, as Miller is seeking in her case. In an annulment, one of the parties asks a judge to determine that the marriage was not ever valid and, therefore, declare that the parties are not married.

In Michigan, a person who already has a husband or wife cannot legally marry another person. If one party marries a second person, that second marriage is invalid and, upon request, a judge will declare the second marriage completely void. However, children born during a marriage that is later annulled are treated as legitimate children of the parties. Accordingly, a judge can issue orders for custody, support and parenting time regarding those children in the judgment of annulment.

If you have questions regarding child support, annulment or divorce, contact a reputable family law attorney in your area to fully understand your rights and obligations.