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Michigan Family Law Blog

Monday, May 14, 2018

Unpaid Child Support Never Goes Away

The Detroit News reported a case on May 8, 2018 that I found interesting (and a little amusing) as a divorce lawyer in Michigan.  The News reported that a man by the name of Joseph Stroup was arrested in Canada due to outstanding child support from a 1989 Grand Rapids case.  Mr. Stroup was hiding out in Canada under the false moniker "Joop Cousteau", not to be confused with Jacques.  Apparently the man fled the country after his divorce in an attempt to avoid meeting his child support obligations and was living under an assumed identity.  This is simply a ridiculous way to try avoid ones obligations.

In an ironic twist, the observant owner of a restaurant which "Joop" frequented recognized him from a United States government site "Wanted Deadbeats" and reported this deadbeat to the authorities.  The Canadian police arrested Mr. Stroup, he was then transported to Grand Rapids to stand before the court where he entered a guilty plea.  One should also understand how unpleasant this trip was for him, the Detroit News did not say, but typically when the person is arrested, he or she is processed and then driven from the area where arrested to the location of the appropriate court in manacles chained behind the person's back regardless of how long the trip might be.

In this case, the child support arrears, with interest and penalties is now over five hundred thousand ($500,000) dollars.  If "Joop" had simply paid his child support over time he would have paid far less. he would have avoided this ludicrous attempt to live under a really bad assumed name and never would have gone to jail.  Mr. Stroup is now sixty-four (64) years old, in prison and in serious debt.  Anyone that has either an outstanding child support obligation or is owed an outstanding child support obligation should be aware that once the amount in arrears exceeds ten thousand ($10,000) dollars, then it is considered a felony and the court may issue a warrant to arrest;  The person is then arrested, transported and almost always convicted. 

This is truly unnecessary because typically the Friend of the Court will allow the person in arrears to work out a very reasonable payment plan without incurring interest, penalties or being arrested.  You should not simply bury your head in the sand and hope that it will go away, it won't.  On the flip side, if you are owed a significant amount of child support, it is likely that eventually you will collect on that support, however that can take a long time.  There are often other options that one may take to seek immediate payment of child support without having to wait almost twenty (20) years as occurred in this case.  If you have questions about child support or arrears, please do not hesitate to contact me at Cameron C. Goulding, Family Law & Mediation, PLC.

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