A support order is any court order that requires a parent or ex-spouse to pay:
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
- Medical, Dental, or Other Health Care Expenses
- Confinement expenses (childbirth costs and medical bills)
- Child Care Expenses
- Educational Expenses
Click Here to view a list of all debt types the Friend of the Court will and will not enforce.
All support orders state an amount that is due on the first day of each month. Support is past due if not paid by the last day of the month.
Child Support Enforcement
The Friend of the Court, in cooperation with the MiSDU, is required to collect, record, and distribute support payments as ordered by the court. When support payments become delinquent, the FOC has several methods of collecting past due support. They include;
The FOC can require a payer's employer to withhold support payments from the payer's income. Support orders entered or changed after December 31, 1990 must provide for income withholding even without showing that the payer has missed payments or is likely to miss payments.
The FOC can administratively adjust the amount the employer withholds toward arrears depending on the circumstances of the case. Either party can contact the FOC if they feel that the amount of the income withholding order needs to be adjusted.
An employer must comply with the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) (15 U.S.C. 1673(b)). Disposable income is the net income left after making mandatory deductions such as: State, Federal, local taxes, Social Security taxes, statutory pension contributions and Medicare taxes. The Federal limit is 50% of the disposable income if the payer is supporting another family and 60% of the disposable income if the payer is not supporting another family. However, that 50% limit is increased to 55% and that 60% limit is increased to 65% if the arrears are greater than 12 weeks.
Contempt of Court (Show Cause Hearing)
If support is not paid on time, the FOC or a party may begin a contempt action against the payer. The court will order the payer to appear and "show cause" why the court should not find the payer in contempt of court. Contempt hearings are primarily held at the Friend of the Court office unless otherwise specified by the notice. While both parties are encouraged to appear, only the payer of support is required to appear.
Income Tax Intercept
If child support is overdue and the case otherwise satisfies certain statutory requirements, the FOC must request an income tax "intercept". In such cases, any tax refund to which the payer is entitled will be paid to the FOC, which will apply to past due support.
Other Enforcement Remedies
If the payer is more than two months behind on the support payments, the FOC must report the arrearage to to a consumer credit reporting agency.
A lein may be placed on the payer's real and personal property, which can be sold to pay the arrearage.
All licenses; including driver's, sporting, occupational, or recreational may be suspended.
A bench warrant may be issued for the payer's arrest.
Jail time may be ordered by a judge. A payer may also be ordered to the "Pay or Stay" program or into a payment plan.
Criminal Non-Payment of Support
Under federal and Michigan law, failing to pay child support may be a felony criminal offense. The FOC does not have the authority to bring felony charges. Charges based on Michigan law are filed and prosecuted by county prosecutors or the Attorney General. Federal charges are filed and prosecuted by the United States Attorney's office.
If you have any questions regarding the enforcement of your support order,
to contact our office
for a Child Support Complaint Form
Modifying Child Support
Support Review Process
The Friend of the Court is able to conduct a support review free of charge once every 36 months. A support review is a review of the child support obligation, child care obligation, and medical care obligation using the Michigan Child Support Formula. A support review can be conducted for the following circumstances;
- A written request is submitted to the FOC for a review, not more often than once every 36 months from the date of the last order or the last review, unless there is verification of a significant change of circumstance, for example, a loss of employment or a change in custody.
- An order is entered from the court for a support review.
- Every 36 months if the recipient of support receives public assistance.
- Upon FOC staff initiative if certain case conditions exist.
To request a support review, Click Here, to fill out the Support Review Application
Filing a Motion
If you are not eligible for a support review through the Friend of the Court, but your circumstances have changed and you believe your current support obligation needs to be modified, you can pursue a modification of your order by;
- Filing a Motion Regarding Support with the Court. Click Here for the forms.
- Hiring an attorney to petition the court for a support review.
Agreement Between the Parties
If you and the other party agree to changing the support amount and wish to have your order changed, the Friend of the Court can prepare an order based on your agreement. Case restrictions apply to this process.
Please review the Child Support Consent Procedure to see if your case is eligible.
If your case is eligible, and you wish to proceed, please fill out the Child Support Consent Agreement and submit the completed form to the Friend of the Court.
This page originated on
September 13, 2010
and was last modified on
August 7, 2014