Child Support Arrears: Collecting and Paying
The legislature has deemed that every minor child in the State of Michigan is entitled to financial support from both parents. That means that if a child under the age of 18 (or still in attending high school, up until the age of 19 and-a-half) does not live with both of his or her parents, that child is entitled to support from the parent they are not living with, made payable to the parent with whom they are residing.
In nearly every custody and divorce action in Michigan, a final Child Support order, called a Uniform Child Support Order (UCSO), must be entered with a final Judgment. This is to address the needs of the child, no matter the outcome of the court proceeding. Even if a child is living with both parents alternatively under shared parenting time, child support is usually still required, though there are some exceptions. The formula for calculating child support primarily takes into consideration the number of overnights each parent was awarded, and the amount of income each parent earns.
The Friend of the Court, an extension of your local County Circuit Court, enforces the child support order once it’s entered. It collects it from the payer and disperses the payment to the payee, usually monthly. But what happens if and when the payer doesn’t pay the amount required?
A USCO is a court order, which means there are consequences if a child support order isn’t followed. When the payer doesn’t pay after a period of months, back child support, called “arrears,” begin to accrue. And once arrears become high enough, or a payer goes a period of months without making any payment at all, the fallout can be severe, with consequences ranging from a show-cause motion before a judge, all the way to a criminal felony charge!
Just this week, our family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz negotiated a payment on child support arrears on behalf of one of our clients to Friend of the Court, which is turn led to our client’s previously authorized arrest warrant being recalled, or set aside. This prevents our client from running the risk of jail time while the balance of back support is paid. If you have a question of child support, whether payment or enforcement, call our offices for a free consultation today!