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Michigan county offers child support amnesty and payment help

When people think of amnesty, immigration issues probably come to mind. But amnesty is taking a different angle in one Michigan County. Genesee County established an amnesty program for parents with outstanding child support warrants.

This is great news for almost seven thousands parents in the country who have an active bench warrant for unpaid child support.

There is no catch for participation in the program. The county simply plans to offer amnesty to anyone who shows up at the program hosted in Flint. The parents who do show up do not need to worry about being arrested either.

According to the Genesee County Friend of the Court, they also plan to help parents who owe substantial amounts of money but do not have the finances to make the payments. Michigan has a number of child support repayment programs that work to get parents engaged and connected with the court system in order to figure out how they can uphold their obligation to their children.

One example of a repayment program is "Carot." If parents use the program, 20% of the child support owed is waived. Parents then have 24 months to make on-time payments and if they complete this task successfully, the state will waive the additional 80% of arrearages. The amnesty program combined with the payment programs are not so much about child support enforcement but about getting parents back on the right track.

Court ordered child support is critical to the well-being of the children involved. Custodial parents rely on the financial support to meet the basic, daily needs of their children but when times are tough, sometimes payments are missed. The state sponsored programs can help parents meet their obligations on time and if that does not work, child support lawyers may be able to advise on a solution for the family.

Source: WNEM 5, "County offers amnesty for those behind on child support," Carrie Sharp, Dec. 15, 2013

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