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Child support legislation looks to Michigan casinos

The state of Michigan has a few ways to ensure that parents follow through with their responsibilities to care for their children financially. If parents are ordered to pay child support and choose to not make those payments, the state can garnish their wages, suspend their license and even put them in jail for non-payment. In addition to wage garnishment, the state may soon have the authority to collect any winnings from Michigan casinos, and use those winnings to cover any owed child support.

In the Michigan legislature, the state House recently agreed to a bill package that is intended to improve the collection of child support and child support enforcement. One goal of the bill package is to make the entire process more streamlined.

One bill, in particular, would require casinos in the state to run a check on winners before they cash out to see if the winner owes any child support. Casinos are practiced at running similar checks, which they already do to see if winners owe any taxes. Because casinos already have this similar practice in place, legislators do not think the additional check for child support back pay would be an inconvenience.

The process starts with the Department of Human Services. The Department would create a registry that collects the names of those individuals who owe child support. The casinos would use this registry to determine if the jackpot winnings should be garnished. For now, the proposed legislation would only cover the three casinos located in Detroit, but, eventually, legislators would like to see similar legislation cover casinos throughout the state.

Source: Michigan Radio, "Turning to Michigan casinos to help collect unpaid child support," Steve Carmody, May 25, 2014

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