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What penalties apply for nonpayment of child support?

Divorce can be difficult on Detroit residents, particularly those who have children. While the divorce judgment will resolve many of the disputes between the spouses, there are a number of issues that can linger on for months or even years after the case is concluded.

One of these issues occurs when the party who is ordered to pay child support does not pay. The delinquent payments can be caused by any number of issues, including a deliberate choice by the payor not to make payments, or more innocent causes like a job loss or other impact on the payor's financial ability to make those payments.

In any event, there are a number of methods for child support enforcement when the individual does not make the payments the court ordered. For instance, the payor's income may be withheld in order to collect current and past-due child support. This means the child support payments will be deducted directly from the parent's paycheck, with the parent's employer then sending the payments to the appropriate entities until it is applied to child support.

The parent's tax refund may also be intercepted in order to pay child support in certain cases. In order to do this, there typically must be a certain level of past-due support.

When past-due support continues to mount up, a number of penalties can apply. For instance, court hearings may be held to determine why support has not been paid, and the person can even be arrested if he or she fails to appear at that hearing.

In certain cases, the payor's driver's license, recreational license or even professional license, can be suspended or revoked if support is past due. Other penalties can include the denial of a passport, or even felony charges for not paying support. Because of the severity of these charges, they are often a last resort that is used after other methods have been exhausted.

Source: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, "Enforcing support," accessed on Oct. 10, 2015

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