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What to Do When Your Ex Is Not Complying with Child Support or Parenting Time Orders

Posted on in Divorce

Farmington Hills family law attorney, parenting time orders, child support payments, Michigan child support, income withholding orderWhen one parent fails to pay child support or cooperate with the court-ordered parenting time schedule, it creates a sad situation for the child as well as conflict between the parents. For the benefit of all, it is best to address non-compliance issues quickly and not let them drag on. In Michigan, the Friend of the Court (FOC) office of your local circuit court has primary responsibility for enforcement of child-related court orders.

Failure to Pay Child Support in Michigan

To help ensure accurate and consistent records, Michigan handles child support payments electronically, with all payments made to and disbursed by the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MisDU). In most cases, the court that handles your divorce will issue an income withholding order. This requires the payer’s employer to withhold (and forward to MisDU) the required amount of child support from the person’s paycheck. Self-employed payers will make payments directly to MiSDU.

Should a payer miss a payment or fall behind (e.g., due to job loss or change), he or she should submit a Request for Enforcement to the Friend of the Court office. The FOC has numerous tools at its disposal to obtain payment, including:

  • Additional wage withholding, also known as garnishment (up to 50 percent of income if the payer has a spouse or other dependents, otherwise up to 60 percent);
  • Suspension of driver's, occupational and/or recreational licenses;
  • Interception (garnishment) of federal and state income tax refunds;
  • Liens on real and personal property;
  • Seizure of financial assets; and
  • Referrals to the County Prosecutor, State Attorney General, or U.S. Attorney for criminal prosecution, which can lead to jail time.

Violation of Custody and Parenting Time Orders in Michigan

The FOC is required to enforce custody and parenting time orders. In many counties, the FOC has an employee who focuses solely on enforcement.

If your ex fails to comply with your court-approved parenting time agreement, you should submit a written complaint to the FOC office within 56 days of the violation.

If the FOC finds that a parent has not cooperated with the court-approved parenting time agreement, the FOC can:

  • Grant makeup parenting time; or
  • Recommend a modification of custody and/or parenting time, subject to court approval.

Note that child support and parenting time are separate parts of a court order, and each part has its own separate enforcement procedures. One parent cannot deny the other parenting time because of unpaid child support.

Trusted Family Law Attorneys in Southeast Michigan

If you or your ex are having issues with your court-approved parenting agreement, it may be time to review and modify the plan. Working with an experienced Farmington Hills family law attorney will make sure your best interests are protected. Call Elkouri Heath, PLC at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer at our Novi, Michigan office.





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