A court hearing a divorce case considers all issues and applicable laws, including the best interests of the child as well as the interests of both spouses, before issuing a formal order. All divorce-related issues are decided, such as alimony, child custody, property division and so on, and this procedure is generally followed by all U.S. courts, including those in Michigan.
Authorities are very strict about implementing court orders and defaulting on court-ordered payments can land a person in serious legal trouble. Child support arrears can lead to jail time for the defaulting parent. There are various ways authorities ensure enforcement of court-ordered child support payments.
A parent may be going through a financial crisis, which may be the reason for delinquent child support payments. Likewise, the parent may have filed for bankruptcy under federal bankruptcy laws. However, this does not mean that he or she will be spared from facing legal consequences for delinquent child support payments. Filing for bankruptcy automatically and temporarily halts recovery of delinquent payments. However, the temporary stay in payment responsibility will not help the parent in arrears get a new passport or renew a passport after expiration.
A state child support agency will keep sending a passport denial request to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, which will forward these requests to the U.S. Department of State, even after a bankruptcy filing. Because a U.S. passport is not the property of the debtor, it would not be subject to automatic stay provisions.
According to Department of State regulations, a U.S. passport remains the property of the U.S. government at all times and it has to be returned to the government upon demand. The regulations also say that a passport will not be issued to a person if the Secretary of State determines or is informed by the authorities that the person seeking a passport has child support arrears.
Source: ACF.HHS.gov, "Enforcing Child Support when the Obligor is in Bankruptcy," Accessed on Jan. 23, 2015