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Knowing when to seek help with child support enforcement

No one wants to bring up financial matters with family members. Money can be a difficult and uncomfortable conversation to have, but when it comes to child support matters, the discussion may be necessary. Child support enforcement is a problem in Michigan and throughout the country. Many parents simply are not meeting their support obligations.

According to a recent Census Bureau report, in 2011, less than half of parents who were supposed to receive child support actually received all of the support money that they were owed. That means over $14 billion worth of support obligations went unpaid.

Many of the custodial parents who are owed support are single mothers living at poverty levels. These mothers rely on the monthly payments to provide for their child's basic needs. When times get tough, parents can seek help with enforcement, but the report showed that fewer and fewer parents are asking for help these days.

Some parents simply do not want to be responsible for getting the delinquent parent in trouble, arrested or put in jail. If a parent is in jail, then he or she certainly will not be able to earn money and make support payments. Another concern is that the children will think that their parents can never get along or that the custodial parent is always trying to get the other parent in trouble.

While it is important to refrain from involving children in any family law disputes, including child support matters, at some point, custodial parents may have no choice but to seek help with child support enforcement, whether it is through a Michigan child support lawyer, government agency or court system. A child's well-being outweighs the potential repercussions of addressing the issues of money and support.

Source: The Washington Post, "Things can get ugly when family and money mix, especially over child support," Michelle Singletary, July 12, 2014

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