How Does Incarceration Affect Michigan Child Support?
If you are in Michigan and are dealing with child support issues while facing incarceration, this article is for you. Obviously, if you are in the process of being prosecuted or getting ready to enter jail or prison, child support may not be at the forefront of your mind. Conversely, if you are already locked up, you may be wondering if it is something you can deal with once you get out. However, owing a high amount of back child support presents its own issues, so it is best to deal with them now before they escalate.
Paying Child Support Is Your Duty As A Parent
Regardless of whether or not you actually have a relationship with your children, the state of Michigan says that as a parent you have a duty to support them. Consequently, they will respond harshly if you fail to pay child support. While you are able to avoid criminal penalties if you are able to prove it is “impossible to pay” child support, the bar is extremely high and requires you to exhaust every last finance you have, including liquidating your assets.
Consequences Of Not Paying Child Support
Unfortunately, failure to pay can result in two things: you could have your wages garnished or you could incur additional fines. Even worse, if you let the fines get too high you could be taken to court for a show of cause. Depending on the severity, the state could even issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If you are out of prison and on parole, failure to pay could land you in hot water. Additionally, the state can take your property, driver’s license, and even levy a contempt charge and throw you back in jail.
What To Do If You Are Locked Up
In the state of Michigan, the amount of child support you are required to pay is directly correlated with the total amount you are able to pay. So if you are incarcerated, the amount you are required to pay will be dependent on what you are making while you are in prison. If you are locked up, make sure to file a motion to reduce your payments as soon as possible. Failure to file a motion means you have to pay the rate determined prior to your incarceration.
You Cannot Alter Past Due Amounts
Michigan courts will usually not reduce back child support payments, even if you can prove that you were incarcerated and could not make your payments. They will only change your amount starting from when you filed your motion to reduce payment amounts. If you owe support directly to your former partner or another person, you may be able to negotiate a reduced amount. However, if you owe support directly to the state, you will not be able to reduce the total amount you owe. Additionally, keep in mind that not all counties deal with incarceration-related child support issues in the same way, so it is best to contact an attorney for the best results.
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