The very first thing we want to make sure you understand here, before we talk about how much you need to pay, is the issue of court orders. If something has been ordered by the court, that means it’s not optional. It’s not a suggestion, or an idea you can consider for later, or a proposal. It’s an order. And not just any order, it’s a court order. Meaning it has been decided by a judge and is now part of the legal record. Just like a divorce, or alimony agreement, once it has been ordered by the court, you have no choice but to follow it. And if you don’t, there are serious consequences.
What could happen if you fail to comply with a court order?
Serious consequences? Well, that sounds… serious! That’s because it is! Not following a court order can get you into a lot of trouble. For example, on the more extreme end of things, you could end up in the Oakland County Jail for not paying your child support. And when the amount you owe reaches a certain quantity (think big – like thousands) you could even be charged with a felony and wind up in prison! However, before it gets that far, the more likely scenario is wage garnishment or asset seizure. Debtor’s prison is usually the last resort for people who don’t pay what the court says they owe.
Does wage garnishment mean they’ll take money out of my paycheck?
Wage garnishment is also sometimes called income withholding. It means that if you have a legal job, the state of Michigan can deduct portions of your paycheck before it reaches you (just like it does for taxes). The way it works is, your employer deducts the ordered child support amount before issuing you your check, and forwards that money directly to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU) so that it can be distributed to the recipient. By the time you get paid, that money has already been withheld from your earnings and turned over to the state of Michigan in the form of a child support payment. So you pay it without having to do anything yourself.
What about other types of income? Do they garnish those too?
Yes, they can, and they do. Although wage garnishment is probably the most common, there are many other legal sources of income that the state can garnish. For example, unemployment benefits, tax refund checks, worker’s compensation claims, insurance claims, social security benefits, and even money from independent contracting work can all be garnished for child support payments by the state. If you owe child support, and you have a legal source of income, it’s very likely that the state will come after you for some of that cash.
There are many other possible consequences for not paying child support!
Join us next time for a look at some of the other more serious possible consequences (we aren’t kidding – they can get pretty extreme!) Until then, if you’re considering divorce and need help figuring out your child support agreement, or you’re already divorced and want to modify your child support, call our experienced family law attorneys at (248) 479-6200. Here at The Kronzek Firm, we’ve spent decades helping parents from Farmington, Royal Oak, Novi and Bloomfield Hills deal with their child support issues, and we’d be happy to help you figure out what amount you need to pay (or be paid) too. Our Oakland County office is conveniently located on Northwestern Highway in Farmington Hills.