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What happens if your ex-spouse fails to pay child support?

Divorce can often mean a frightening new beginning for both you and your children. Even more frightening can be the looming financial instability when you're settling in a new Michigan home and restructuring your life. Of course child support payments from your former spouse are meant to help, but what happens if your spouse fails to pay your court-ordered child support agreements?

Naturally you would want to work things out amicably if possible, particularly when divorce is also tough on your spouse. However, if a mutual resolution is not possible, you may need to pursue enforcement through the Michigan court system. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services discusses potential enforcement methods. The first is income withholding, in which a mandatory portion of your spouse's income is withheld by his or her employer to be sent to the state, and then subsequently paid to you for child and medical support.

Other methods include a tax refund offset, a lien or levy, credit reporting, a show cause/bench warrant hearing, levying of pension accounts and many additional penalties up to criminal charges. Some of these actions are meant to recover the child support payments owed to you, while others are meant to act as either a deterrent toward negligent behavior or a punishment for already occurring negligent behavior. In many cases you can pursue a less confrontational solution before the situation reaches that point.

This blog is provided as an information reference only, and should not be misconstrued as actionable legal advice.

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