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What can you do when your co-parent fails to pay child support?

After your divorce, you may have hoped to establish a civil co-parenting relationship with your former spouse. Yet, this may be difficult to do if they fail to provide their child support obligation to you. Some co-parents have a difficult time paying support due to financial challenges. But your former spouse’s refusal may be willful, rather than a reflection on their economic circumstances.

The state of Michigan has a variety of ways of helping you collect child support from your former spouse. A common method of doing so is garnishing part of their income. The state can do so whether your former spouse receives an employer’s paycheck, government benefits or insurance benefits. If they have received a bonus, severance pay or commission pay, these sources of income could face garnishment, too. Your former spouse’s tax refund may face interception as well. If they owe more than $150 in child support to you, their state tax refund could be intercepted. And their federal tax refund could be intercepted if they owe more than $500 in child support to you.

Your former spouse could face other consequences for failing to pay child support. The state may penalize them by:

  • Placing liens on their property
  • Suspending their driver’s license
  • Suspending any professional or recreational license they hold
  • Rejecting their passport application (if they owe more than $2,500 in child support)
  • Reporting missed payments to credit bureaus

You can also bring a civil contempt action against your former spouse for failing to pay child support. If the court finds they have violated their support order, your former spouse may have to provide you part or all their overdue obligation. They could also end up serving jail time.

If your former spouse refuses to pay child support, you have ways to work toward receiving it. An attorney with family law experience can guide you through your options.