What If My Ex Refuses To Pay Child Support?

Child support is a hotly contested item in most Michigan child custody cases. What happens if your ex refuses to pay?

It is a common complaint from parents that are supposed to receive child support payments from an ex spouse. “They just don’t pay!”. This happens frequently, and there are remedies for the situation. However, the process of recovering child support can seem confusing and even impossible. Let’s look at how the process works and how you can navigate the system.

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How is Child Support Determined in Michigan?

Child support is often ordered in custody hearings. In Michigan, child support will be ordered if the following criteria are met:

  • The payee is the parent or custodian of a minor child
  • The minor child lives in the payee’s home
  • The minor child is financially dependent on the payee
  • One or both of the parents do not live with the minor child

When these criteria are met, then the payee becomes eligible to receive child support payments. Note that there is no criteria outlining the payer’s conditions. That means that whether the payer is employed or unemployed, despite their income or assets, child support can be ordered.

Child Support in Michigan is the Responsibility of Both Parents

In Michigan, both parents have a duty to support their child (or children) until the child reaches 18. Generally speaking, the noncustodial parent makes payments to the custodial parent. While both parents are responsible to support and care for their child or children, it is assumed by the court that the custodial parent is already spending the correct amount to care for the child.

Normally, the amount of support ordered is based on the incomes of both parents, the number of children, and the amount of overnights children spend with each parent. The amount of support is determined by a formula created by the Friend of the Court.

The formula uses both parents’ gross incomes. This can be determined by knowing both parents’ net income and the parenting time each of you has with the child. Net income is all gross income minus certain adjustments and deductions for alimony received and income taxes, among other payments and premiums paid. Gross income includes your salary, wages, commissions, overtime pay, and bonuses, too. Additionally, it is any royalties, tips, dividends, military specialty pay, and even gambling winnings if they are regular enough.

So What if My Ex Refuses To Pay Their Support?

There are many remedies for child support payments that are not received. In some cases, the court will simply garnish the wages of the offending parent. This will ensure payments are made. However, there are some circumstances where the refusal to pay can become a felony.

When a parent owes more than $5,000 in back child support, this becomes a felony in Michigan. They can be fined $2,000, spend up to years in prison, or both. Normally, you want to rectify this before it gets to the point where your child’s parent is in prison. However, it occasionally comes to this. That’s where a Michigan Family Law expert can help you.

If you are owed child support and don’t know where to turn, call The Mitten Law Firm today for a free consultation.