Other issues: Michigan grandparents rights and Friend of the Court proceedings.
Michigan’s No Fault Divorce Act and the process of getting divorced. The Divorce Process – Michigan attorneys that can help.
Recently, the United States Supreme Court and the State Courts of Michigan have severely limited the rights of grandparents. The courts have stated that parents have a constitutional right to have custody of their children and that a parent must be considered unfit before a court will award custody to a third person including grandparents. A grandparent will really only have a chance to receive custody or parenting time unless one of the natural parents are deceased or if they received guardianship of the child through the probate court. Again, it is very difficult for grandparents to receive rights to parenting time or custody but it still may occur on a very limited basis. It is strongly recommended that any grandparent attempting to gain parenting time or custody retain legal counsel.
Child Support Enforcement
There are many times when there is a child support order entered in a divorce or custody case where the party required to pay does not do so. There are many things that many be done to enforce payment. These include income withholding orders (the support is taken directly out of the payor’s check), intercepting tax returns and forfeiture of property. Child support orders can be entered to include child support, child care, uninsured medical and payments towards arrearages.
When the individual is not paying the support there are many things that can be done. The individual who is supposed to receive the support can go to the Friend of the Court and ask for enforcement. The FOC will then “show cause” the individual to come to the court to show cause of why they are not paying. If the person does not appear then a bench warrant will be issued for their arrest. Many times the police or sheriff will pick up the individuals that have a bench warrant but most times they are taken into custody when they are stopped for a traffic violation and the officer discovers that there is a bench warrant for that persons arrest. If the individual comes to the court on the show cause or after the arrest on the bench warrant they will either go before the judge or FOC referee. If the judge does not find good reason for the person not paying support then the judge can order he or she to ninety days in jail. Also, if the judge ordered the individual to do other things, such as reporting to the FOC and showing job applications and the person fails to do so then the judge can give ninety days in jail and an additional ninety days for contempt. Many times a judge will order ninety days in jail which is waived if the individual pays a certain amount of money. For example if a person owes $10,000.00 the judge may say ninety days in jail or payment of $5,000.00. If the person pays the money they do not need to serve the jail time.
The FOC can be very effective in enforcing child support. Unfortunately they are understaffed. Because of this it may take a very long time to get the FOC to issue a show cause. Any person may bring their own motion to show cause or motion for enforcement of payment of support. They may do this on their own but may also hire an attorney to do this for them. An experienced attorney may be very adept in enforcing the support provisions. This may include bringing numerous motions for enforcement.
For more information on Child Support investigations visit www.childsupportpi.com
The FOC now has a nationwide network. What that means is that all of the agencies across the county can now communicate with each other. It also means that the FOC where the person owing money resides may enforce the support. Many times the FOC will do this upon the urging of the jurisdiction who originally entered the judgment. Many times, however, the original jurisdiction will not do that. The FOC where the person resides will not then enforce on their own. A person still has another option. The person can hire an attorney in the jurisdiction where the person owing the money resides and have them file a Certification of a Foreign Judgment. In filing this, the party will then ask the court to assume jurisdiction of the enforcement provisions of support. This is a way to effectuate enforcement of support where the person resides. It is far easier for a court to do this where the person resides rather than a court in another state to do so.
An example of this is as follows:
A court in Texas enters a judgment where the father must pay $150.00 per week in 1995. The father moves to Michigan and never pays a dime. The courts in Texas order him to pay and enter Bench Warrants for his arrest.
Unfortunately, Michigan does not honor these bench warrants from Texas and as long as the father never goes to Texas there is nothing for him to worry about. The Texas Court also refuses to transfer enforcement up to the FOC in Michigan for whatever reason.
If the father lives in Macomb County then the mother can hire an attorney who will file a Certification of a Foreign Judgment in Macomb County Circuit Court where the father resides. That court will then enforce the provisions of the Texas judgment specifically to support. The attorney can then show cause the father and ask for bench warrants for his arrest. The court in Macomb County will have far greater influence in enforcing the judgment than the court in Texas.
Once the Certification of Foreign Judgment has been filed, the Michigan Court will continue to enforce until the child reaches majority or until the father owes money.