Welcome back and thanks for joining us. We’ve been talking about the consequences of not paying your court-ordered child support, specifically here in Oakland County, Michigan. Candidly, it’s not much different than Macomb, Wayne, Livingston or Lapeer counties. Anyway, in our previous article, we looked at a few basics, like why a court order is so important to follow, and what wage garnishment really means. But now we’d like to take a moment to explain exactly what could happen if you decide not to pay your child support. Because while it may not seem like a big deal, it really is!
Garnishing wages and other income is just the tip of the iceberg!
We already talked about the fact that if you fail to pay child support, the state can garnish your wages, and many other forms of income, like your tax returns and unemployment benefits. But if you think that’s rough, wait till you hear this!
- Suspended Driver’s License:
The state of Michigan can choose to suspend or even revoke a parent’s license if they’re more than two months behind in their child support payments. This can apply to driver’s licenses, recreational or sporting licenses. Even applications for professional licenses can be denied.
- Liens and Levies:
If a parent is more than two months in arrears when it comes to court-ordered child support payments, the Oakland County Friend of the Court or MDHHS Office of Child Support may choose to initiate a lien/levy against assets. These assets could include any real estate owned, including a personal home; car, boat or another vehicle; financial assets; or insurance claims.
- Credit Reporting
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. Yes, your credit report will get dinged.
- Pension Account
If you are behind in your child support payments, the state can issue an income withholding order or lien 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.
- Passport Denial and Suspension
Not paying child support can result in you being denied a passport, should you apply for one, or having your existing passport suspended, which means you can’t travel out of the country. Passport denial begins as part of an automated system, if the arrearage is more than $2500.
- Criminal Charges
This is by far the most serious of the possible consequences for non-payment of child support in Michigan. Under Michigan law, you could face a possible punishment of up to 4 years in prison or a fine of not more than $2,000, or both for not paying your court-ordered child support. Although this punishment is usually only dealt out when the amount owed reaches several thousand.
Don’t let child support arrearages ruin your future!
Do you owe child support or the amount you’re required to pay is too much? Don’t lose hope – you have options. Child support agreements can be modified with help from the right family law attorney. If you have questions or concerns about your own child support or need help with any other family law matter, call our Oakland County office at (248) 479-6200. The very experienced and well-respected family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have spent decades helping the families of Farmington, Royal Oak, Novi, Birmingham, Huntington Woods and Bloomfield Hills with every aspect of their family law needs. We’ve helped hundreds of clients including doctors, lawyers, judges, accountants and lots of business owners. We can help you too.