Navigating child support matters can often be a challenging endeavor, particularly when non-custodial parents struggle to meet their financial obligations. The non-custodial parent can petition the court, detailing their financial difficulty and requesting an adjustment of the child support amount. It is, however, imperative to continue making payments to the best of one’s ability during this process to avoid potential legal ramifications.
Child support orders in Michigan are enforced through a stringent legal process. The Child Support Division within the Attorney General’s department plays an instrumental role in ensuring these orders are complied with and several measures are in place to enforce them.
The initial step involves obtaining a court order for child support. These orders are typically acquired through the judicial system, where the court takes into account a variety of factors and pertinent circumstances to determine the amount of child support to be paid.
When parents fail to fulfill their child support obligations, enforcement measures are initiated. Income withholding is a common enforcement measure whereby child support and medical support payments are deducted from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. Other sources of income, including unemployment benefits and Social Security benefits, may also be subjected to income withholding.
In cases where the amount of past-due support reaches a certain threshold, both federal and state tax refunds can be intercepted to pay support. The thresholds for state and federal tax refund offset vary.
A show cause hearing is another enforcement measure. If a parent fails to appear at this court-ordered hearing, enforcement actions may include issuing a bench warrant for their arrest. The Friend of the Court or the Office of Child Support may initiate a lien/levy against the non-paying parent’s property, financial assets, or insurance claims to collect child support.
License suspension is another potential consequence for non-payment of child support. Driver’s licenses, recreational or sporting licenses, and professional licenses may be denied, suspended, or revoked. If a parent falls more than two months behind in payments, they may be automatically reported to a consumer credit reporting agency. The Child Support Division may refer cases to the county prosecutor or the Attorney General for criminal prosecution of felony non-support when other collection methods have proven unsuccessful.
Facing child support challenges can be an overwhelming experience, requiring an understanding of complex legal processes and potential consequences for non-compliance. It is important to note that the specific procedures and enforcement measures may vary depending on the circumstances of each case. For individuals seeking to enforce child support orders or protect their legal rights, Robbins & Licavoli, PLLC, can provide legal guidance and representation. We are here to help you navigate this complex terrain. Contact us today to get the assistance you need.