Thanks for joining us again for this look at what you need to know about child support in Michigan. While both custody and child support are subjects that come with a fair share of frustration, it is critical that you abide by the orders of the court. Not following the court’s orders in just about any area related to your children can have a serious backlash, however, when it comes to child support, the consequences for not making court-ordered payments correctly and promptly can be extremely serious.
If you remember from our first article in this series, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) says that regular child support payments result in decreased conflict between parents. They also state that paying regular child support can increase the involvement of the non-custodial parents, and provide better chances for children to reach their full potential. However, one very important thing that paying regular child support provides is not having to deal with the often unpleasant consequences of not complying with court ordered child support. For parents who choose not pay child support, the State employs quite severe methods for ensuring compliance.
In the previous article we looked at the first three methods the state uses to ensure compliance with child support, namely wage garnishment, suspended licenses, and liens and levys. Moving forward, we are going to look at the next three items on the list:
Tax Refund Offset
Looking forward to that big fat check in the mail come tax time? Not if you owe child support payments. According to the MDHHS website, “if the amount of past-due support (arrearages) reaches a certain level (threshold), both federal and state tax refunds can be intercepted to pay support.”
If you’re wondering what that threshold is, it isn’t very high. The past-due threshold for state tax refund offset is $150, while the federal past-due threshold is $150 for cases that receive cash assistance, and $500 for the non-cash assistance cases. In both cases, the person owing the child support will be notified via a letter about their rights and reasons they may use to object. For example, in a joint tax return, a spouse may make a claim to retain his or her portion of the refund.
For those parents who are trying to fix their credit, or are hoping to maintain a good credit score, this one is a biggie! The state will automatically report any parent who is more than two months behind in payments to a consumer credit reporting agency.
If you are behind in your child support payments, the state can issue a support order against your pension account, whether it is private or operated by the government. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a support order against a private pension account. An Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO) is a support order against a state or federal government pension plan. Both a QDRO or EDRO can be issued for either current or past-due child support.
Join us next time as we continue to look at this list of penalties that the state may choose to pursue in order to enforce child support payments from a parent. Until then, if you have questions or concerns about your own child support, or need help with any other family law matter, call us at (248) 479-6200. The skilled family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have spent decades helping the families of Oakland County and the surrounding areas with every aspect of their family law needs. We are here to help you too!