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What happens to child support during the government shutdown?

The partial government shutdown is on everyone's mind. Some people are harder hit than others, especially government employees who are furlough. Other issues arise for families when they can't get the government support they need. Michigan families had a few budgetary concerns regarding the shutdown and one of those concerns was child support.

Parents wondered if their child support payments would be sent out amid the shutdown, or if the child support would even be affected. Other parents asked if they would still be required to make support payments while the government was on hiatus or if they stopped receiving their government paycheck.

For the most part, child support is governed by the state of Michigan. Only in certain situations does the federal government step into enforce or collect child support. There did not appear to be a shutdown of the child support system and parents seemed to collect their expected payments. If a parent did not get the required child support, most likely the non-payment was the result of circumstances surrounding that specific situation.

The government shutdown may certainly mean that some parents aren't receiving a paycheck for the time being. But this has nothing to do with child support. The child support court order stays in effect either way.

Modifications are a possibility if there is a change of circumstances, like financial hardship, but a modification must be achieved through the standard process. The agency that handles the child support case may be able to answer questions about modification but unemployment may not always be reason enough. Money earned through unemployment pay or contract work is still considered money that can be used toward child support payments.

Source: Monroe News, "Shutdown Prompts Questions About Benefits," Oct. 8, 2013

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