The Consequences of Not Paying Child Support in Michigan
If you’re a Michigan parent who pays child support, making the payments may be a hard task to perform every month. Especially if you’ve lost your job, object to your custody and visitation order, or have disagreements with your former spouse, you may be tempted to simply stop paying. In fact, you might even feel justified in not doing so.
Those feelings may be understandable, but our legal system doesn’t run on feelings. It relies on laws and facts. And all of us have to face the facts about our obligations as citizens under the law.
Whatever your reasons, non-payment of child support in Michigan is a financially and legally risky course to follow. According to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, the consequences are not pleasant. You may be subject to any of the following:
- Income withholding. Both current and past-due child support and medical support payments are deducted from your paycheck and sent to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit. Other sources of income are also subject to withholding.
- Tax refund offset. When your past-due support reaches a certain threshold, federal and state tax refunds can be seized to bring your account current.
- Lien/levy. A lien or levy can be initiated against your real or personal property, insurance claims and other financial assets.
- Pension account(s). Support orders can be issued against private pension plans, as well as state or federal government plans.
- Surcharge. If your child support payments are in arrears, a judge may order a semi-annual interest surcharge to be added to the amount you already owe.
- License suspension. A two-month payment lapse can result in several kinds of licenses being denied suspended or revoked—including driver, hunting and fishing, and professional licenses.
- Credit reporting. If you fall behind more than two months in your payments, it’s reported to a consumer credit reporting agency, and that can adversely affect your credit score when applying for a loan.
- Passport denial. With a past-due support amount of just $2,500, you may find that your passport is denied or revoked.
- Show Cause/Bench Warrant. If you fail to provide child support or medical support, you can be ordered to appear in court to explain why the judge shouldn’t hold you in contempt.
- Criminal/Felony Charges. Yes, it really can get this bad. Your case can be referred to the county prosecutor. You may be charged with the crime of felony non-support.
Don’t Wait—Take Prompt Action
As you can see, not paying child support can have consequences for virtually every aspect of your life. In addition to the financial ramifications, your ability to drive legally, to travel overseas or even go fishing can be affected.
As with all legal matters, the time to deal with any problems you’re having with making child support payments is sooner, rather than later. Consult an attorney. If you want the terms of your visitation or custody agreement to be modified, submit your request to the court. You have rights as a parent, and qualified legal counsel will help you preserve them.
Too much information?
We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.