Child support payments are one of the few debts that the government mercilessly attempts to collect. Failure to pay can result in arrest warrants, jail time, lien foreclosure and any number of harsh consequences. Federal and state governments take child support incredibly seriously. These measures only take effect if the parent consistently fails or refuses to make child support payments. In Michigan, the Friend of the Court is the official that enforces child support payments.
The first and primary method of collection is income withholding. Your employer will take the payments directly out of your paycheck and send them to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit. This includes income from Social Security, unemployment, workers' compensation and insurance claims.
If your past-due child support amount is more than $150, then state tax authorities will intercept any tax refunds you may be entitled to. This will occur every single year until you're caught up with your payments. Additionally, the court can issue a bench warrant to compel the non-paying parent to appear in court and explain the failure to pay. If the person fails to appear, then they may be held in contempt and jailed.
The Friend of the Court may also initiate liens or levies against real property and financial assets. The court may suspend all manner of licenses including recreational and driving. If you are more than two months late on payments, your credit score takes a hit. Pension plans can be used to pay for past due child support payments. Your medical insurance could be compelled to support your child, even if she is not listed on your plan. Concomitantly, your medical insurance costs and rates will increase.
The Friend of the Court may ask a judge to levy a surcharge on all late payments, which is added to the principal. Finally, the Friend of the Court may refer the case to the county prosecutor who can file felony non-support charges.
Failure to pay child support is serious. If you cannot maintain the current payment schedule, then consult an attorney to review your options. You cannot avoid your obligations so you must face them or risk your freedom.