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Michigan Court Records

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What is Child Support and When Does it Occur in Michigan?

In Michigan, the law describes child support as money paid by parents for the care and maintenance of minor children (persons under the age of 18). This support usually comes into effect when a divorce, family support, child custody, or paternity action is brought before the Michigan Courts. Child matters for which support may be ordered include health care, living school, and other related expenses. Within the state, the following agencies are responsible for managing and enforcing child support: the office of the prosecuting attorney, the Friend of the Court Bureau, and the Michigan Office of Child Support, a subset of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.

What is Michigan Child Support?

Michigan’s child support statutes are established under separate titles and chapters to effectively cover the implementation and collection of support, functions of relevant state agencies, and obligations of parents. Per MCL 552.602, child support means the money payable for a child’s care, including financial and emotional needs. This payment is typically ordered for children who have not reached the age of majority, i.e. 18 years. However, under MCL 552.602, the court may approve support for a child who is 18 years and higher but not over 19 years and 6 months. This mostly occurs when the child is fully attending high school while residing with the payee (parent receiving child support payments or custodial parent).

What Does Child Support Cover in Michigan?

The purpose of child support in Michigan is to guarantee the care of children until such parties come of age and can provide for themselves. It also establishes the rights and responsibilities of parents to their children. Finally, it aims to reduce the requirement for public assistance in supporting minor children. When ordered, this support covers a variety of child-related expenses including food, transportation, utilities, clothing, medical/health care, child care, extracurricular activities, and education (MCL 552.602)..

What is the Average Child Support Payment in Michigan?

Michigan courts decide the sums payable for child support with the Michigan Child Support Formula (MCSF). This formula is drawn up by the Friend of Court Bureau and calculates child support according to the parents’ monthly net income (wages, bonuses, overtime, etc.), time spent with a child (overnights), and the number of children. Although this formula serves as a guide, the court may deviate from it when calculating child support amounts under MCL 552.605(2) and (3). Some reasons for this deviation include:

  • When the parent is a minor
  • When the child has extraordinary medical expenses or income
  • When the child has special needs, and other circumstances described by 2021 MCSF 1.04(E)

Every child support case has distinct matters that are decided which are based on the income of the child’s parents. As such, it may be somewhat difficult to calculate the average amounts payable for a case. However, interested persons may use the MiChildSupport Calculator to find out the amounts they may be expected to pay or receive in support. For medical expenses, 2021 MCSF-S 2.02(A) states the average ordinary medical costs spent annually on 1 to 5 or more children. For one child, this amount is $454. The court may then order supplements to this amount to cover greater uninsured expenses, such as a special medical need.

How Do I Apply for Child Support in Michigan?

Any person who does not already have a child support court order or has never received public assistance may apply for child support in three ways:

  • Online using the MiChildSupport service: Interested parties may use this platform to apply for child support quickly and easily
  • Mailing the DHS–1201 form (IV-D Child Support Services Application/Referral): Persons who use this method must complete the DHS–1201 form. This form can be filled online and printed, or downloaded and completed in writing. It is important to fill this form legibly. After completing the form, applicants may send it to the office of the prosecuting attorney, Friend of the Court, or local MDHHS office. This form can also be mailed to the Michigan Office of Child Support at the following address:

Michigan Office of Child Support

Central Operations

PO Box 30744

Lansing, MI 48909–8244

  • Calling (866) 540–0008 to request child support application assistance

How Do I Get Out of Paying Child Support in Michigan?

Michigan law does not indicate if persons can get out of paying child support, only that persons can choose to not pursue child support if there is good cause. The MDHHS describes two acceptable good causes in the IV-D Child Support Manual, page 18, such as when it will harm the child or when emotional or physical harm is probable to a child or parent. Persons who face these circumstances may request the DHS–2168 form (Claim of Good Cause) from the local MDHHS office.

However, payers may obtain a modification from the court by request to the local Friend of the Court (FOC) office or by direct application to the court. The processes and requirements for modifying a child support order are published on the Michigan Courts website. Common reasons why a payer may solicit modification include a change in income, loss of a job, increase in child expenses/needs, and when the child becomes 18 and has graduated from high school.

What is Back Child Support in Michigan?

Back child support in Michigan refers to the overdue or past-due amounts owed by the payer to the state (for persons receiving public assistance) or to the payer’s child. Another name for this owed money is arrearages.

How Do I Get Back Child Support Paid in Michigan?

Persons who owe child support are liable to certain consequences in Michigan including driver license suspensions, income withholding, tax refund intercepts, real/personal property liens or levies, passport denial/revocation, civil contempt hearing, and more. Under MCL 750.165, the defaulting party may also be charged with a felony and subject to a period of imprisonment not exceeding 4 years or a fine not exceeding $2,000, or both.

To avoid these repercussions, payers may request a repayment plan from the court or ask the Friend of the Court to forgive (discharge) the past-due payments with the Motion Regarding Payment Plan/Discharge of Arrears (FOC 109). Interested parties may contact the FOC for more information or view instructions for using the FOC 109 form published by the Michigan Courts. Forgiveness for state-owed debts can be requested with the Request to Discharge State-Owed Debt form.

Keep in mind that this relief is granted only to persons who could not pay support because of financial or other valid reasons. Persons who intentionally avoided paying support are ineligible.

Is there a Michigan Statute of Limitation on Child Support?

No, Michigan law does not place any statute of limitations on child support actions. This payment can continue until a child turns 18 or over, if the child has not completed high school and resides with the parent, It may also continue until all arrearages are completely paid.

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