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Family Law

What Happens if My Child’s Father Fails to Pay Child Support?

Past DueSo the court orders your child’s father to make child support payments to help you out with the expenses for the kids, and you think “Great, finally a little help!”  Then your child’s father conveniently forgets to make the payments or just flat out tells you that he’s not going to pay, and you’re left bearing the burden of paying for everything yourself.

Well, don’t worry, there are things we can do to help you get your support!

Child Support Enforcement Options

There are several methods to enforce a child support order.  If the payer is employed, the Friend of the Court can initiate income withholding if the amount due is equal to or greater than the monthly amount of support.  This means that the child support amount will be taken directly out of his paycheck and sent to the Michigan Support Disbursement Unit (MiSDU) to be distributed to you.  A percentage of the arrearage (overdue support amount) will be factored into the amount withheld and will be paid to you with each distribution until the overdue amount is paid in full.

If the payer is not collecting a paycheck or income withholding has failed for any other reason, there are other enforcement options.  Once support payments are at least two months behind, the Friend of the Court has the option of suspending any license that he may have.  This includes a driver’s license, occupational license, or any kind of recreational or sporting licenses (think hunting/fishing licenses, truck driver’s license, or even a license to practice medicine or law).   He will not be able to get his license back unless a court order rescinds the license suspension or until he gets documentation from the Friend of the Court showing that he is now complying with the order to pay child support.

Another option to enforce a child support order is to request that the court hold your child’s father in contempt of court until he pays.  Either you, as the recipient of the support payments, or the Friend of the Court can file a petition for an order to show cause for the failure to pay support.  In this petition, you’re asking the court to order the payer to appear in front of the judge and show good cause for why he has failed to make his child support payments.  If he doesn’t show up to court, or if the judge doesn’t believe that he had good cause to miss support payments, the judge can find the payer in contempt and/or assign a variety of other sanctions (punishments) depending on the situation.  We can explain to you the different sanctions that may apply in your particular case and why they may be effective in helping you get the back child support.

Need Professional Help?

If you’re having trouble collecting child support from your child’s father, our office can assist you by helping you choose the best enforcement method to pursue based on your personal situation.

Feel free to call or email us to set up a consultation to discuss what options you have.

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Joanne Golden graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science and obtained her law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy Law School. Joanne is active in the Women Lawyer’s Association of Michigan and the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, where she sits on the Board of Directors for the young lawyers section.

1 Comment to “What Happens if My Child’s Father Fails to Pay Child Support?”

  1. avatar

    My childeren father owes me 21,879 in child support and I want to collect he owns homes and he works under the table and refuses to pay chils support what can I do? Im having a hard time (struggling) pay bills and keeping a foof over our head monthly i get evection notices cause I’m robbing peter to pay paul.
    sincerly, a tired mother

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