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How child-support orders are enforced in Michigan

In general, parents are responsible for raising and supporting their own children. This responsibility continues after divorce or separation. In keeping with the general principles of determining child support in Michigan, Oakland County Child Support Attorneys tell their clients to focus on what is best for their children whenever they discuss child-support issues. Once these issues have been settled, the law requires that both parties comply with the agreement.

Parents who are required to pay child support should pay on time. Failure to do so can have severe consequences. Courts can empower Michigan authorities to use several methods to collect delinquent payments, including income withholding. In this primary method, the support is automatically deducted from the supporting parent’s paycheck and sent by the employer to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit. Other forms of income — workers’ compensation claims, independent contracting payments, Social Security benefits and unemployment benefits — can also be withheld by authorities.

Another method used by courts to collect delinquent child support is a show cause or bench warrant. The parent who has failed to pay support will be required to be in court and explain to a judge why the parent is behind on child support payments. Failure to show up in court can have serious consequences including arrest and jail time.

License suspensions, liens, passport denials, surcharges and criminal charges are also common consequences of failure to pay support. These are entirely avoidable if parents simply meet their obligations.

Parents who are having a hard time paying support on time can discuss other payment methods or options, including support modification. Having open communication with the custodial parent can often help especially when child support is late because of severe financial challenges from illness and job loss. To address such problems, parents should speak with a legal professional.

Source: Michigan Department of Human Services, “Enforcing support,” Accessed on Dec. 18, 2014