Michigan law holds that both parents have a responsibility for raising their child. When the parents live together with the child, the state presumes both are paying for the child's food, healthcare and other expenses. However, when parents don't live with the child, their responsibility does not end. Whether it's a case of divorce or one in which the parents were never married, a parent who does not live with a child must pay child support to help pay for the child's upbringing.
Recently, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a package of bills that lay down rules that will help hold fathers accountable for child support for kids whose mothers are on welfare. An important highlight of the bill is that it sets a process for determining paternity. The prosecutor may ask for genetic testing of a man who is presumed to be the father of the child.
Among the new measures going into law, those who receive benefits under the state's Family Independence Program could lose their benefits if they don't comply with requirements. These requirements include establishment of paternity and obtaining of child support. According to the new bills, a genetic test is the best method for establishing paternity.
The governor said that he the new laws will make the child support system run smoothly and ensure that Michigan families have access to the benefits they deserve. However, the new measures will have serious implications for both payers and recipients of child support. Unmarried mothers who receive welfare benefits will have to legally establish paternity of their children or risk losing their welfare benefits. Unmarried fathers who have previously avoided child support obligations will be more likely to find themselves ordered to comply with a paternity test.
When a paying parent's income changes and he or she is no longer able to pay a previously ordered amount, it's important to seek out legal help to request a modification before unpaid child support starts to gather interest. Likewise, custodial parents often need legal help in getting the other parent to meet obligations. Michigan attorneys with experience in child support can help in these and many other family law matters.
Source: The Detroit News, "Snyder OKs rule establishing paternity for welfare," Gary Heinlein, Dec. 17, 2014