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Role of MI Dept. of Human Services in collecting child support

Most Michigan residents are aware that a non-custodial parent is required to pay the custodial parent child support. What residents may not know is that MI has one of the oldest child support collection systems in place, which dates back to the early 20th century, around 1919. In 1975, under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, states were authorized to enforce and collect child support payments.

Presently, collection of child support payments is handled by the MI Department of Human Services which, according to reports, nationally has the fourth largest caseload but is 20th in collecting child support payments. However, the economy has been one of the main reasons cited for non-custodial parents being delinquent in making their child support payments. The consequences of not making timely payments include an increase in arrears, suspension of one's driver's license which can impact a person's ability to travel to and from work, and even jail time. Further, non-payment is not in the best interest of the child.

Parents ordered to pay child support but unable to meet their obligation due to a change in financial circumstance such as reduced work hours, or layoff, will find it interesting to learn that MI has an arrears forgiveness program. This program allows payers to work with the Friend of Court in their respective county, establish a new payment schedule, and potentially waive interest or remaining arrears owed to the state.

In general, to avoid an increase in arrears and other negative consequences of non-payment of child support, the payer may want to consider filing a motion for modification of child support. Where there is change in circumstance which prevents the non-custodial parent from making timely payments, such a motion may help reduce one's child support payments.

Source: EagleHerald News, "States' role in child support," June 5, 2013

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