A support order is any order entered by the circuit court which requires the payment of support. A support order may include:
Payment of medical, dental and other health care
Payment of child care expenses
Payment of educational expenses
The Friend of the Court may request you to sign a document for Federal reporting purposes, which is an application for Friend of the Court (IVD) services.
Support Investigations and Reports
If ordered by the court, the Friend of the Court will conduct a financial investigation and make a written report and recommendation to the parties and the court regarding child support.
Michigan Child Support Formula Manual
State and Federal law require that a child support formula be used by Friends of the Court and Prosecuting Attorneys when recommending appropriate child support amounts. In Michigan, a child support formula manual has been developed which considers both the non-custodial and custodial parent’s income and the number of annual overnights the children spend with each parent.
A copy of the manual may be available at your local library. If you would like obtain your own printed copy of the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual, they are made available for $5.00, prepaid. Make check or money order payable to the State of Michigan and send a request to:
Department of Management and Budget
Office Services Division
P.O. Box 30026
Lansing, MI 48909
Or, download it from the State Court Administrative Office website by clicking here: Michigan Child Support Formula.
Enforcement of Support
The Friend of the Court is required to automatically begin enforcement action against a parent paying support whose back support is in an amount equal to four weeks of support or eight weeks if the order has just entered. This is to be done without waiting for a complaint or request for enforcement from the person receiving support.
The Friend of the Court has many options available to enforce support orders. These options include:
Income Withholding Notice: An income withholding notice requires the payer’s (person required to pay support) employer or other source of income to withhold support from his or her paycheck. All support orders issued in the State of Michigan must provide for a notice of income withholding. If the payer lives out of state, and gets behind in making his or her support payments, the Friend of the Court may begin an interstate income withholding action. In order for a Friend of the Court office to start an interstate income withholding action, it must have the following information: name, address and social security number of payer and the name and address of the employer.
Show Cause Hearing: If an order for income withholding does not work, the Friend of the Court may begin a civil contempt proceeding by filing a petition with the court for an order to show cause. If the show cause hearing is held and the payer does not appear, the judge may issue a bench warrant for the payer’s arrest. Once the court issues a bench warrant, the responsibility for the payer’s arrest lies with the local law enforcement agencies.
Tax Intercept: If back child support is owed, the Friend of the Court may request an income tax offset. A tax offset is where any tax refund owed to a payer is sent to the Friend of the Court and applied to back child support. State taxes may be intercepted if arrears exceed $150 and federal taxes if arrears exceed $500.
- Liens: In some cases, the Friend of the Court may be able to obtain a lien on a payer’s property.
Modifications of a Support Order
The Friend of the Court is required by state law to review child support orders as follows:
Not less than once every three years if the children for whom support is being paid are receiving public assistance.
When on its own finding or initiative, the Friend of the Court office determines that the amount of the child support order should be changed.
- Upon a written request from a party, no more than once every three years. The office must complete its support review within 120 days and make a copy of its recommendations and supporting documents available to the parties or their attorneys. If the office finds that an increase or decrease is appropriate, the Friend of the Court must petition the court for a change in the child support amount.
Support Payment Information
When a support order is entered through the Court system, the order will be payable through the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU). The MiSDU also distributes payments to the recipient of support (payee).
Payees: The first payment will be sent as a check to the mailing address on file with the Friend of the Court. There will be information included requesting you to choose how the MiSDU should send payments to you. Please read the information carefully.
PAYMENTS MADE THROUGH INCOME WITHHOLDING NOTICE: Pursuant to statute, a Notice of Income Withholding is entered immediately upon entry of the Support Order. However, the payer is responsible for making support payments on their own through the MiSDU until support payments are deducted from payer’s wages. Please allow two weeks for processing an Income Withholding Notice after the Friend of the Court has received their copy of the Support Order signed by the Judge.
Direct payments made to the client after an order of support has been entered are considered a gift. Support payments cannot be made directly to a recipient of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
MAKING PERSONAL PAYMENTS – Have the court case number, payer’s Social Security Number, payer’s full name and county number (069) ready
Credit/Debit Card Payments:
MiSDU.com – May make a one-time payment or set up an account (Processing fees apply)
Interactive voice response (IVR) system by dialing 1-877-543-2660 and enter county code 687. The IVR is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Money order or Cashier’s Check:
Checks should be made payable to: MiSDU and mailed to PO Box 30351, Lansing, MI 48909-7851.
Cash, money order, cashier’s check, and credit card payments are accepted at the Otsego County Friend of the Court office.
Register for a barcode on the MiSDU website to make cash payments using PayNearMe at CVS, 7-Eleven, and Family Dollar or by MoneyGram at WalMart and CVS. (Processing fees apply)
How is Child Support Affected by Unemployment of the Payer
I Lost my job, do I still have to pay my support?
It is important to understand two things: 1) a support order remains in effect until it is changed (modified) by the Court, and 2) by law, a support order cannot be retroactively modified.
What does this mean to you? When you have a change in circumstances, such as the loss of your job, contact your FOC case worker as soon as possible. Your case worker will be able to discuss options available for your circumstances.
If I qualify for unemployment, will support be taken out of my unemployment compensation?
Yes, it should be done automatically. There is a direct link between Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency and the Michigan Child Support Enforcement System to keep support payments coming for the benefit of the minor children. If you find that your support was NOT taken from your Unemployment Compensation check, you are responsible for contacting the Friend of the Court office immediately to report this and making your payment on your own.