Child Support Enforcement

The Friend of the Court (FOC), in cooperation with the MiSDU, is required to collect, record, and distribute support payments as ordered by the court. When support payments become delinquent, the FOC has several methods of collecting past due support. They include:

Income Withholding

The FOC can require a payer's employer to withhold support payments from the payer's income. Support orders entered or changed after December 31, 1990 must provide for income withholding even without showing that the payer has missed payments or is likely to miss payments.

The FOC can administratively adjust the amount the employer withholds toward arrears depending on the circumstances of the case. Either party can contact the FOC if they feel that the amount of the income withholding order needs to be adjusted.

An employer must comply with the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) (15 U.S.C. 1673(b)). Disposable income is the net income left after making mandatory deductions such as:
  • Federal Taxes
  • Local Taxes
  • Medicare Taxes
  • Social Security Taxes
  • State Taxes
  • Statutory Pension Contributions

The Federal limit is 50% of the disposable income if the payer is supporting another family and 60% of the disposable income if the payer is not supporting another family. However, that 50% limit is increased to 55% and that 60% limit is increased to 65% if the arrears are greater than 12 weeks.

Contempt of Court (Show Cause Hearing)

If support is not paid on time, the FOC or a party may begin a contempt action against the payer. The court will order the payer to appear and "show cause" why the court should not find the payer in contempt of court. Contempt hearings are primarily held at the Friend of the Court office unless otherwise specified by the notice. While both parties are encouraged to appear, only the payer of support is required to appear.

Income Tax Intercept

If child support is overdue and the case otherwise satisfies certain statutory requirements, the FOC must request an income tax "intercept." In such cases, any tax refund to which the payer is entitled will be paid to the FOC, which will apply to past due support.

Additional Enforcement Remedies

If the payer is more than 2 months behind on the support payments, the FOC must report the arrearage to a consumer credit reporting agency.
  • A lein may be placed on the payer's real and personal property, which can be sold to pay the arrearage.
  • All licenses; including driver's, sporting, occupational, or recreational may be suspended.
  • A bench warrant may be issued for the payer's arrest.
  • Jail time may be ordered by a judge. A payer may also be ordered to the "Pay or Stay" program or into a payment plan.

Criminal Non-Payment of Support

Under federal and Michigan law, failing to pay child support may be a felony criminal offense. The FOC does not have the authority to bring felony charges. Charges based on Michigan law are filed and prosecuted by county prosecutors or the Attorney General. Federal charges are filed and prosecuted by the United States Attorney's office.

Questions, Comments, Concerns

If you have any questions regarding the enforcement of your support order, contact our office or fill out a Child Support Complaint Form (PDF).