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Bloomfield Family Law Blog

What are penalties for non-payment of child support in Michigan?

Like many parents in Michigan who pay child support, you may find it inconvenient or difficult to make the payments. You might also have reasons you feel are valid to not pay. However, you should consider the potential legal consequences of withholding child support, of which there are many.

According to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, the penalties you may get for not paying child support include the following:

  • Garnishment of wages, workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security payments and insurance claims
  • Liens against your property
  • Suspension of your driver’s license and professional licenses
  • Denial of an application for a passport
  • A warrant being issued for your arrest

How often will I see my child after a divorce?

As parents in Michigan like you grow and move on with your lives after a divorce, it's very possible that the arrangements you initially set up will no longer work for your needs. Lisa Stern, Michigan Family Law Attorney, is here to explain how these arrangements can be changed after a divorce has already happened.

In many cases, your life won't stay the same after a divorce. Different scenarios can affect your availability or capabilities. For example, you may be in the military at the time your child custody arrangement is written. Because of your absence, you could be getting just a small amount of visitation time with your child. However, after you leave the military, are you still tied down to that? The short answer is no.

Your mortgage and your divorce

If you are like many divorcing spouses in Michigan, you may be concerned about how to best handle your home when ending your marriage. You likely know that many couples end up deciding to sell their marital homes but your spouse might be pushing hard to keep the home. You might even think that is not a bad idea because then your kids will not have to move out of the home they know. But, before you rush into agreeing to this situation, there are some things you should know.

As explained by Bankrate, if your name is removed from the title of the home via a quit claim deed and your divorce decree identifies your former spouse as the party responsible for the mortgage payment and other costs associated with the home, your mortgage lender could still come after you if any payments are late or missed. This is because, quite simply, a mortgage and a home are not considered one in the same in the eyes of a bank.

What does the court recognize as a child's best interest?

As a parent in Michigan who has just gone through a divorce, you've likely heard that custody matters are decided based on the child's best interest. Lisa Stern, Michigan Family Law Attorney, is here to help explain exactly what that means.

Michigan is a state which follows the "best interests of the child" when it comes to determining custody-related matters. What does this mean? Essentially, the well-being of your child will trump everything else. Certain factors are recognized by the state when it comes to figuring out what benefits your child the most. This can include:

  • Who can provide life's necessities
  • The physical and mental health of the parents
  • Environmental stability
  • Emotional ties 
  • Moral fitness of the parents

How do you determine what's in your child's best interest?

As divorcing parents in Michigan, you've likely heard the term "in your child's best interest" numerous times. Lisa Stern, family law attorney, is here to explain exactly what this term means and how it applies to you.

Generally speaking, when someone refers to your child's best interest in the context of a divorce, they're talking about what will allow your child to continue growing, thriving, and living in a healthy environment even after the split is finalized. Needless to say, some amount of trauma is likely to occur. After all, this is a big change in any child's life.

Making child custody modifications

Divorce can take on a number of different meanings, depending on the specific family situation. For those with children, deciding on a child custody plan can often become the biggest obstacle of the process. Sometimes, Michigan parents realize that an initial plan has not gone as smoothly as expected. When this is the case, a modification may be the next step. 

First, many parents may wonder what advantages a modification might create. Verywell Family explains that child custody modifications are common, and are often necessary to protect the children themselves. A child's safety should always be the top priority. Parents who suspect domestic violence is taking place within the walls of an ex-spouse's home can take immediate action by requesting a modification.

How can you protect your child during a divorce?

As divorcing parents in Michigan, one shared goal that you and your spouse likely have is the protection of your child. Lisa Stern is here to help ensure that your child can make it through the potentially traumatic process of a parental divorce as easily as possible, giving you tools that can be used to ease through the transitional period.

Children will need the support from both parents, first and foremost. You should always take the time out to ensure that they understand you and your spouse aren't getting divorced because of them. Additionally, reassurances should be made regarding how you both feel toward your child. It can ease a large amount of your child's anxiety to know that both of their parents will continue to love them the same amount even if their living situation drastically changes.

What are key points of consideration in a parenting plan?

In Michigan, parents need to create a parenting plan after they get a divorce. This allows for both you and your ex-spouse to continue having a presence in your child's life, which benefits everyone. Lisa Stern, a Michigan family law attorney, is here to guide you through the process of creating your own individual parenting plan.

Parenting plans will differ from situation to situation. What worked for your divorced friends might not necessarily be the best set-up for you. For example, do you or your ex-spouse travel a lot? Are you military? Does one of you live farther away? Were there allegations of abuse tied up in the divorce? Does a mediator have anything different to say? Try looking at the situation from as many angles as possible before deciding on a final plan.

Nothing lasts forever, not even divorce judgements

Anyone who has been divorced in Michigan can attest to the fact that the agreements condoned by the court often seem final. However, these judgments are made to fit the exigencies of a specific situation, and might be changed if the circumstances shift enough to make a change necessary.

FindLaw lists a number of ways divorced individuals might challenge or modify divorce judgments issued by the court. One is an appeal, which challenges the entire decision. The other is a modification— a small adjustment to a generally acceptable situation. As for modifications, Michigan law offers significant latitude when modifying divorce judgments.

Can a parent leave the state with the child?

Michigan child custody laws aim to make custody division as fair as possible to all parties involved. For this reason, there are certain restrictions placed on both parents. Even if you have primary custody of your child, there are still things that you can and can't do.

One grey area involves the question of whether or not it's okay to move out of state with your child after a divorce. FindLaw points out that a move like this could damage the visitation schedule that you and your ex-partner have, especially if you plan on moving far away. It's possible to get the go-ahead for a move, though. The easiest way to do it is by getting an okay from your ex-spouse. They need to give their consent, as they may not be able to see their child as often if you move.

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