Many people do not have the time to keep abreast of changes in the law. But, Michigan residents and parents dealing with child support, paternity and other family law issues may find it very helpful to learn about the several new laws that went or into effect this year.

It is estimated that Michigan collects over a billion dollars annually in child support. The intent of the new laws is to make the existing child support and paternity process more efficient, and thereby reduce the amount of past due payments owed.

Changes in the paternity and child support laws goes hand-in-hand. A few of changes that occurred in the child support law that could affect parents include prosecution for non-support if it can be determined that the child support payer was aware of the case. Additionally, new changes are making it easier to redirect child support payments to a new caregiver if a child is placed outside of their home.

Changes in existing paternity laws include using a positive genetic test as a conclusive means of accepting paternity without a court determination if certain factors are satisfied; noting the specific conditions where a man can be labeled or consider to be the biological father of a child; streamlining the process of establishing paternity and child support orders; offering parents struggling to pay child support alternate means of payment which will be monitored by the court; giving parents the option to file a petition to show that a biological father is not the father of a child; and giving courts the ability to take into consideration the best interests of the child when determining if parental rights should be revoked or not.

Source: Michigan Radio, “New state laws intended to streamline Michigan’s child support system,” Steve Carmody, Dec. 29, 2014