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Will I Get Arrested if I Cannot Afford My Child Support Payments in Michigan?

Posted on in Divorce

Novi child support lawyersThe prospect of paying court-ordered child support for many years can be daunting, especially if you have ever been unemployed through no fault of your own. Parents who are self-employed, contract workers, or whose income largely depends on tips, bonuses, or commissions may also suffer from a fear of not being able to make child support payments. 

While Michigan does take the obligation of a parent to financially support their child seriously, jail time is usually a last resort for a parent who has failed to make child support payments. If you are worried you may not be able to afford your payments, do not panic - seek the help of an experienced child support attorney who can help you understand your options. 

What Should I Do if I Cannot Make Child Support Payments? 

If you expect your income to change only temporarily and you have a good relationship with your child’s other parent, you may be able to work out an arrangement until you get back on your feet. But if you lose your job or experience a significant income reduction, let the court know as soon as possible. If you anticipate that you will be making less money for a long time, or if your income will be unpredictable moving forward, you may be able to successfully petition for a modification to your child support payments. 

Acting quickly and communicating clearly shows you are working in good faith and not simply trying to avoid making payments. A court may be less likely to grant a modification to a parent who has a history of trying to artificially reduce their income, so it is important to ensure you only ask for relief if you need it. 

What Are the Consequences of Unpaid Child Support? 

Because children who do not receive timely child support payments may suffer through no fault of their own, Michigan law provides many potential consequences to try to keep parents current on their child support payments. Enforcement actions usually start small and increase with continued non-compliance. What starts as a threat of being held in contempt of court can escalate to wage garnishment, license suspension, adverse credit reporting, and even criminal charges that may result in fines and prison time. Avoiding the issue will only make it worse. If you are already facing consequences for unpaid child support, start dealing with it now and prevent the problem from escalating further. 

Meet with an Oakland County Child Support Lawyer

If you are unable to make child support payments for any reason, get help from an experienced Oakland County, MI child support attorney right away. At Elkouri Heath, PLC, we can help you understand your options and take steps to avoid penalties for unpaid child support. Call us today at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. 




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