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What are some consequences if I don't pay child support?

If one has been ordered to pay child support in the state of Michigan then, the Michigan Friend of Court office is tasked with issuing an income withholding notice to all known sources of income. Sources of income include one's paycheck, Social Security checks, any unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits. Thus, if one is employed then child support will be withheld from one's paycheck. This is one way of ensuring that child support payments are made in a timely manner.

However, in some cases despite earnest efforts to make child support payments, one may not be able to do so and this may result in an accumulation of child support arrears. If child support arrears are over $150, any state income tax refunds may be intercepted and the person will be reported to the credit bureaus for having late or no payments. Credit reporting can impact one's ability to get loans for a car or home. If child support has not been paid for over two months, then a lien may be placed on the property of the parent obligated to pay the support.

In cases where the child support arrears are over $2,500, one's passport application may be denied or a hold placed on it restricting one's ability to travel. Additionally, crucial licenses such as a driver's license, professional licenses and even recreational licenses may be suspended. Such restrictions can directly impact a person's ability to be gainfully employed or live life normally.

Finally, the most serious consequence of all is that one may be held in contempt of court for not paying court-ordered child support. The person may not only be fined but may face jail time as well. Without a doubt the consequences of not paying child support are serious. If one has been ordered to pay child support in the state of Michigan and cannot do so, it is very important to file a motion for modification of child support payment early on, and avoid the serious consequences.

Source: Michigan Department of Human & Health Services, "Understanding Child Support: A Handbook for Parents," accessed July 20, 2015

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