Going through a divorce is frustrating enough. Getting a divorce when children are involved can be extremely challenging. Children add another layer of complexity because there is parenting time, custody, and child support to iron out. Of these, the biggest issue is enforcing child support.
Child support is often a point of contention because many parents do not think they should have to pay for their child when they already have some parenting time. Or they may not want the money to go to the other parent out of spite or revenge. They may have concerns about how their money will be spent.
Less than half of custodial parents are getting paid their full amount of child support (44%). Just under 70% of custodial parents received some payments from noncustodial parents, but not enough to meet their obligations.
This is a frustrating situation that can lead to resentment. That is because the noncustodial parent still gets custody and visitation with the child regardless of whether or not they make child support payments. So it ends up being a win-win situation for them. If they do not make payments, they still get to see their children.
The good news is that if you are a custodial parent whose ex is not paying child support like they should, you can request enforcement and hopefully get the money you deserve.
How is Child Support Enforced?
In Michigan, the Friend of the Court (FOC) office has primary responsibility for the enforcement of child-related court orders. If the other parent refuses to pay court-ordered child support, then they are considered to be in contempt of the court. This can include fines and jail time.
However, the FOC will often try other enforcement methods first. You can submit a Request for Enforcement to the FOC, and they will work to try to collect past-due support. This may include the following:
- Withholding income from the payer’s wages
- Placing a lien on the payer’s property
- Garnishing state and federal tax refunds
- Suspending professional licenses as well as driver’s licenses
Sometimes payers will purposely earn less money or decide to work altogether so that they don’t have to pay as much child support. In these cases, judges can impute income or decide that the payer has the ability to earn more income. This is called imputing income, and this refers to the amount the judge decides the parent has the ability to earn, which may be higher than what the payer actually earns. Proving that income should be imputed is difficult, though, so contact a lawyer.
Contact Us Today
The topic of child support can bring about a lot of questions and concerns. How is it calculated? What happens if you cannot afford it?
The Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins can help you. As a teacher, lecturer, and author, Attorney Robbins is highly knowledgeable about Michigan’s child support laws. Call (248) 646-7980 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.