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The parent responsible for paying child support must continue to pay support through the Friend of the Court (FOC), even if he or she leaves the State of Michigan. If child support payments stop, the parent who is owed the money has several options:
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A support order means any order entered by the Circuit Court which requires the payment of money for:
The final court Order will include a child support obligation dollar figure, to be paid by income withholding for an employed parent (usually expressed in "$____/month"), a child care contribution, each parent's responsibility for medical insurance or uninsured medical expenses, each parent's responsibility to report certain changes in circumstances or coverage to the Friend of the Court, reimbursement for pregnancy and/or childbirth expenses and, if the parties agree, a provision for parenting time or custody.
A petition requesting an Order of Support must be filed in the Circuit Court. If both parties (and the Judge) agree on the amount, an order can be quickly entered. If the parties cannot agree, you can consult with a private lawyer, or apply online under the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) IV-D services. You do not have to be on public assistance to seek help. DHHS will refer the support case to the Prosecuting Attorney, who can file an action in Circuit Court under the Family Support Act. Contact: Michigan Office of Child Support, Central Functions Unit, P.O. Box 30744, Lansing, MI 48909; Phone: 866-540-0008; Alternate Phone: 866-661-0005.
Once the support order has been entered, if the parents get back together and decide to end the family support order, they must contact their private lawyer or the Friend of the Court to stop the support order. It is not sufficient to just notify a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) case worker.
Child support is set by a formula in the Michigan Child Support Guidelines. (You may want to download the Michigan Child Support Guidelines Manual to better understand this process.) The formula considers both parents' income, the number of children and their custodial arrangements, other child support payments, etc. But every-day financial responsibilities like rent/mortgages, utilities, credit card debts, etc. are not factored in.
The child's medical costs may also be included in the child support order. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) MiChildSupport website has a free Child Support Calculator to help you estimate what will be ordered.
No. The Friend of the Court is responsible for enforcing payment orders and collecting delinquencies (although you may also hire a private attorney to file an enforcement action). Child support is generally collected through income-withholding from the parent's paycheck. If the person is self- or un-employed, payment must be made personally.
We can file a case for paternity and/or child support even if the absent parent lives in another state. In some cases, when that party is a former Michigan resident or other factors exist, we may still be able to file a case in our county.
If there are not sufficient ties to the state of Michigan, an action is filed under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). The papers are prepared in our office, filed with our court and forwarded to the state where the absent parent resides. The final court Order must be obtained in the other state. Although we process interstate cases right away, we cannot control the time it takes another state to obtain an Order. We will monitor the other state's efforts on a regular basis and contact you if additional information is required.
The Friend of the Court is responsible for enforcing payment orders and collecting delinquencies (although you may also hire a private attorney to file an enforcement action). There are several options: income withholding orders, show cause hearings (civil contempt hearings held with the Judge who issued the support order), tax refund intercepts, and liens on the payor's property are the most common methods used.
Note: Visitation and support orders are separate orders of the Court, with separate enforcement procedures. If you are not being paid the support monies to which you believe you are entitled, you may not withhold parenting time ("visitation") from the delinquent parent.
The Office of Child Support, the Prosecuting Attorney's office child support specialist, and the Friend of the Court have resources to locate people. But any information that the custodial parent has is accepted. Some helpful information that you can provide us is found on this Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) web page.
The following resources contain child support information: