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Michigan Family Law Blog

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

How to Enforce Child Support

How Do I Enforce Child Support Orders?

Being awarded child support is helpful, but being able to collect it is even more beneficial. When the other parent refuses to pay child support, it can have a severe detrimental impact on you and your children. Thankfully, you can take steps to enforce a child support order in Michigan, and a child support lawyer can help.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)

MDHHS will help parents collect back due child support by using a variety of collection methods. They can also help you take further action that is designed to punish the other parent until he or she makes their required child support payments. A parent will connect with “Friend of the Court” to start the collection or enforcement process. The method that will be most effective for you will depend on your unique circumstances. A family law attorney can also walk you through your potential options regarding child support order enforcement.

Enforcing the Child Support Order

MDHHS can use the following avenues to help collect back due child support.
  • Withholding Income from Wages (Garnishment). You can arrange for the other parent’s employer to withhold a portion of their paycheck to pay for back due support. Many parents will choose to have child support withheld, so they keep up with their ongoing obligations as well. Medical support payments can be deducted.
  • Garnishing Tax Refunds. If child support is more than $150 behind, you can also choose to have the other parent’s tax refunds withheld and applied to the past due amount. You can garnish both federal and state returns.
  • Liens or Levies Against Property. You can also arrange to place a lien on both real and personal property. You may also be able to levy (or seize) financial assets or insurance claims for collection as well.
  • Suspension of Licensure. Failure to pay child support can result in being unable to obtain certain licenses, such as a driver’s license, or recreational or hunting licenses. Professional licenses or renewals may also be denied.
  • Credit Reporting. If a parent owes more than two months of back child support, he or she will have that noted on their credit report. That type of information will generally decrease a credit score.
  • Criminal prosecution. There are situations where a parent can be criminally charged for non-support. Felony non-support charges usually apply when other collection methods have been attempted, but those efforts have failed.
The Court may also issue a bench warrant and schedule a show cause hearing. A show cause hearing requires the parent to come before the court and explain why he or she is not paying their court-ordered child support. Keep in mind that failing to pay child support is a violation of a court order, which is illegal.

Getting Legal Help

While failing to receive child support is frustrating, you do have legal options. Reach out to child support attorney Cameron C. Goulding for a confidential consultation.

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