Frequently Asked Questions
If it has been 3 years or more since the most recent child support order, you may request, in writing, a child support review by the Friend of the Court. The Friend of the Court will conduct an investigation and make a recommendation for an order based upon the Michigan Child Support Formula. If it has been less than 3 years, you will need to file a motion for modification of support. Forms and instructions are available at the Friend of the Court office or on Forms page.
If I have been paying my child support and the custodial parent is not allowing parenting time as stated in my court order, do I have to keep paying support?
Yes. Parenting time and support are separate parts of the court order, with separate enforcement actions. Please advise the Friend of the Court, in writing, of the claimed parenting time violations so that enforcement action may be taken.
The non-custodial parent is not making regular child support payments, do I have to allow him/her to have parenting time?
Yes. Parenting time and support are separate orders of the Court as explained above.
I paid my child support directly to my co-parent, can I get credit?
No. If your order requires you to pay through the Friend of the Court or MiSDU, you must do so. Support is paid through the Friend of the Court in order that an official record of payments is maintained. However, a 1-time only basis, the Friend of the Court will extend credit to your account if your co-parent agrees to the credit, in writing.
We both want to pay direct, can we do so?
Only if your court order allows it - the Friend of the Court will not approve such an arrangement. However, you may seek an order from the court which allows you to "opt out" of the Friend of the Court office. Forms and instructions are available at the Friend of the Court office or on the Forms page.
Do I have to pay child support after my child reaches 18?
In Michigan, child support continues past the age of 18 if certain conditions are met. Support may continue up to age 19.5 if the child is "regularly attending high school on a full-time basis with a reasonable expectation of completing sufficient credits to graduate from high school while residing on a full-time basis with the payee of support or at an institution."
This means that current child support charges will continue until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later, not to exceed 19.5 years of age.
If I am receiving public assistance, do I still get child support?
No. The Friend of the Court must send any child support payments made while you are on public assistance to the State of Michigan.
Is the Friend of the Court responsible for making sure that child support money is being spent on the children?
No. The law does not give anyone the authority to specify how child support payments are to be spent.
I am in jail without work release, do I have to pay child support?
Yes. However, under Michigan law, long-term incarceration - coupled with an inability to pay during the incarceration - will result in a suspension of charges during that time. You will need to provide verification of your "in date" and "out date."
How do I get an Income Withholding Order started to have the child support taken from my pay?
Contact the Friend of the Court office and provide the following information: Name of employer, contact person, phone number, mailing address, and FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) if possible.
Do I have to let my children go for parenting time if it appears that the other parent has been drinking or using drugs?
That is your decision. If you make the decision to deny parenting time, you may be asked to explain to the court at a contempt hearing why you felt your decision was in the best interest of the children.
Does the Friend of the Court have a responsibility to investigate alleged abuse and/or neglect of a child?
Allegations of abuse or neglect should be reported to Children's Protective Services division of your local Department of Human Services.
I have a specific parenting time schedule that I need to change, what can I do?
If you need a temporary change in your parenting time schedule, contact your co-parent to discuss making other arrangements. If you need to make a permanent change you can see if you and your co-parent can agree to the change. Write down the agreed changes, and both parents should sign and date the letter. Submit the agreement to the Friend of the Court office. A stipulated order will then be prepared and submitted to the court for approval. An agreement between parties is not enforceable without a court order.
If you and your co-parent are unable to reach an agreement, you may submit a written request to the Friend of the Court for a review of your parenting time provisions. Please indicate how circumstances have changed since your last order, and the reasons for requesting a review.
As a last resort, you can file a motion with the court for a change in the order on your own, or contact an attorney to assist you.
At what age can the child choose with which parent he/she will live?
They can decide at age 18. Children do not decide custody, parents and/or the court decide custody. The reasonable preference of the child is one of several factors the court considers in reaching a custody decision.
What happens if I have an order for custody and the other parent does not return the child to me as stated in the order?
You may contact the Friend of the Court and request enforcement - requests for enforcement must be in writing. Or you may contact your attorney. If you have reason to believe the other parent does not intend to return the child, you may contact the police or the prosecuting attorney and request that parental kidnapping charges be filed.
I am concerned that my child is being abused or neglected when he or she is with the other parent, what should I do?
Report your concerns to the Children's Protective Services unit or the Department of Human Services. You may also wish to provide your Friend of the Court Office with a written copy of your concerns so that they may be made a part of your file. The Friend of the Court office, however, does not have the authority to investigate and remove children in abuse or neglect matters.
Further, the Friend of the Court cannot change your custody order based upon allegations of abuse or neglect.
The custodial parent is temporarily absent or out of town, does the non-custodial parent automatically get care and custody of the child?
No. For short-term absences, the custodial parent may make alternate care arrangements which may or may not include the non-custodial parent. Any court-ordered parenting time must still occur.
1st, you will receive a tax offset notice. These notices are not generated by the Friend of the Court (FOC); they are generated by the Central Enforcement Unit in Lansing.
You will then receive a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that your tax refund has been intercepted and will be sent to the FOC. It can take many months before the IRS sends the money to the FOC. You should check your FOC account once a month to see if your tax refund has arrived.
Please visit the IRS website.
How do I get the money applied to my account?
If you filed a single return (for you only), the refund amount will be applied to your child support obligation immediately. If money is owed to the State, that account must be paid 1st (by federal law).
If you filed a joint return (for you and your spouse), the information system will hold the money for 6 months before applying the funds to your child support obligation. If your spouse does not want his or her portion of the refund to be used toward the child support arrears, you should contact your tax preparer in order to complete an "injured spouse claim."
Can "Held" Federal tax refunds be released prior to the 6-month waiting period?
Yes. Complete the waiver form and have both signatures notarized then return the form to the FOC office.
Please allow a minimum of 30 days for the State to complete the actual release of the funds. Remember: You must 1st verify that the tax refund has actually been received by the FOC. Until the refund is received, our office is unable to process these requests.
View the Waiver Form (PDF).