When a custodial parent does not receive child support payments on time, it hampers the child’s best interests. Fortunately, there are measures in place that can help a custodial parent to enforce a child support order. In Michigan, the Friend of the Court offices that are located across the state is the agency that offers child support enforcement services.
What are the enforcement methods?
Some of the methods that are used for child support enforcement in Michigan are:
- Income withholding: An income holding order can be obtained from the court to collect both current and past child support. In fact, all new and modified child support orders now require income withholding, unless the parents mutually agree to a different method of payment.
- Tax refund offset: If unpaid child support reaches a certain threshold, federal and state income tax refunds can be intercepted to pay the due amount.
- Show cause notice/bench warrant: If a non-custodial person does not pay child support, the court can ask that person to appear in person. This is called a show cause hearing. If the parent does not attend the hearing, the court can issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the defaulting parent.
- Lien/levy: In some cases of unpaid child support, the Friend of the Court or the Michigan Office of Child Support can place a lien on property or insurance.
- License suspension: If a parent is more than two months behind on child support payments, that parent’s driving license is suspended.
- Credit reporting: When child support is unpaid for a period of more than two months, the default is automatically reported to credit reporting agencies.
- Passport denial: Not paying timely child support may also result in the denial of a passport being issues to the defaulting parent.
- National Medical Support Notice: For enforcement of medical support, authorities issue a National Medical Support Notice for employer-provided insurance. The amount is collected either through this or through other enforcement methods.
- Pension accounts: A Qualified Domestic Relations Order or an Eligible Domestic Relations Order can be used for collecting both current and past child support.
- Surcharge on child support: A judge may also order for a surcharge to be collected on unpaid child support, which is added every January 1st and July 1st.
- Felony charges: In some serious cases of delinquency, the Friend of the Court may refer the case to the county prosecutor’s office, which can then press felony charges.
Seeking child support enforcement services
If any custodial parent needs to avail child support enforcement services, it may be a wise first step to speak with an experienced family law attorney. The attorney can guide the custodial parent the various forms that need to be filled and submitted and also to collect any necessary evidence that the enforcement agencies may require to pursue the case.