What Should Someone Do If Their Ex-wife Refuses To Make Required Child Support Payments?

Child support is enforceable by a number of methods. The Friend of the Court is set up to keep accounting and take enforcement action against payers of support. A payee should contact the Friend of the Court and seek enforcement against the other parent who is refusing or otherwise failing to pay.

What Happens When She Falls Behind On Child Support Payments?

The Friend of the Court will seek an Order to Show Cause which would be served on the non-paying parent. That parent would be required to appear before the court and explain why she should not be held in contempt of court, and what enforcement mechanisms are necessary to get her caught up in support.

Should the non-paying parent fail to appear at the Show Cause hearing, a bench warrant would typically be ordered for their arrest. Chronic failure to pay child support in cases where the Court deems the payer able to pay may lead to charges by the county prosecutor of felony non-support under Michigan’s criminal code.

The Friend of the Court is often very busy and backed up in these support actions, and it is usually much quicker to hire your own attorney to enforce the support order. Your attorney would obtain an order for the payer to show cause and have her personally served.

The father’s attorney would seek sanctions and attorney fees against the mother for failure to pay. Sanctions could include the suspension of the mother’s driver’s license, occupational license, or passport, as well as reporting to a credit agency, garnishment of bank accounts, placing a lien on the payer’s home, among other enforcement options.

Under What Circumstances Can A Temporary Or Permanent Modification Be Made To Child Support Payments?

Child support is always subject to modification on the basis of a change of circumstances. The parties are entitled to regular review of the current order by the Friend of the Court every 3 years, but can always file a motion with the court to increase or decrease support and related expenses if there has been a change of circumstances. This could include a loss of employment, layoff, injury or illness, change of jobs, retirement, or many other factors.

It is important to note that child support is typically not subject to retroactive modification, which means the court will not order a decrease or an increase back to when circumstances changed, but rather will only go back to when the motion is filed and served upon the other party. Therefore, it is important to file a motion as soon as possible after the change of circumstances has occurred in order to avoid being subject to an inaccurate support amount in the interim.

It is common in cases of lay off that support would be modified based upon unemployment benefits with a requirement that the person paying support report to the Friend of the Court when she gets back to work so that support can be re-adjusted.

If you’re preparing for divorce, contact the American Divorce Association for Men for a FREE initial telephone consultation at 248-356-ADAM (2326), and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

About ADAM (American Divorce Association for Men)

The American Divorce Association for Men (ADAM) is a group of highly qualified attorneys who advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child custody and parenting time, paternity, support, property settlement, post judgment modifications, and other family law matters. Since 1988, ADAM has been aggressive, diligent, and uncompromising when representing their clients. A team of compassionate and skilled family law attorneys, ADAM is dedicated to being Michigan’s leading divorce attorneys for men.