Child Support Garnishment Rules & Regulations in Michigan

By Mark Vansetti

In Michigan, the friend of the court may enforce a court's order for child support by withholding, or garnishing, a parent's wages. The friend of the court may also garnish both state and federal tax returns, to a certain limit. Under some circumstances, a parent who is owed child support can initiate garnishment, and at other times, the friend of the court is required by law to initiate garnishment.

In Michigan, the friend of the court may enforce a court's order for child support by withholding, or garnishing, a parent's wages. The friend of the court may also garnish both state and federal tax returns, to a certain limit. Under some circumstances, a parent who is owed child support can initiate garnishment, and at other times, the friend of the court is required by law to initiate garnishment.

Child Support Amount

When determining the amount of child support owed, the court must apply the Michigan Child Support Formula. The formula is based on the needs of the child and actual resources of each parent. The court will consider things such as the income of both parents, size of the family, cost of childcare, cost of dependent healthcare coverage, and any other criteria the court finds to be compelling. Under the Michigan Child Support Formula, the age of the child is not taken into consideration.

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Garnishment Procedure

There is a particular procedure for withholding income, or garnishing wages, for child support under Michigan law. Garnishment is available to a parent who is owed current child support as well as for a parent that is owed arrearages, or past due child support. Only the friend of the court may initiate a garnishment. In fact, the friend of the court must do so if a parent is more than one month behind in making payments. The friend of the court will send notice to the parent who owes child support and schedule a hearing, at which time the friend of the court will determine whether to garnish wages or if the court should modify the child support order.

Garnishment Limitations

Under both Michigan and federal law, there are limitations as to how much income may be garnished. Under Michigan law, only 50 percent of a parent's disposable income may be withheld for child support. Disposable income is the money left over after legally required deductions, such as taxes, are withheld from wages. Under federal law, only 50 percent of a parent's disposable income may be garnished for child support if the parent is also supporting another family. However, 60 percent of disposable income may be garnished for child support, if the parent is not supporting another family.

Garnishing Tax Refunds

Tax refunds can also be garnished to pay child support. Under Michigan law, $150 may be withheld from a state tax refund. Federal law allows for garnishment of $500 from a federal tax refund. Typically, the Office of Child Support sends the parent written notice of the proposed tax garnishment so he is aware of it and has an opportunity to contest the garnishment.

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Is There a Statute on Collecting Child Support in Michigan?

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Kansas Laws on Non-Payment of Child Support

Kansas monitors child support by requiring parents to make their payments through the Kansas Payment Center. Language to this effect must be included in every new or modified child support order. Under both state and federal law, child support payments are made through income withholding orders, or IWOs. IWOs obligate a parent's employer to deduct child support from his wages or salary and forward it to the state. If a parent is unemployed or self-employed, however, IWOs may not work and a parent can fall behind with payments.

What Is the Law Regarding Multiple Wage Garnishments in Illinois?

When an Illinois debtor has not repaid a debt, the creditor may seek a judgment from an Illinois court ordering that the debt be paid. Judgment creditors may legally seize a portion of an employee's paycheck to satisfy the debt. This process, known as "garnishment," is governed by state and federal law. In Illinois, state law restricts the process for more than one judgment creditor to garnish an employee's paycheck.

How to Compute Child Support Payments in Michigan

Calculating child support under Michigan law can be confusing and complicated. The state uses the income shares model, meaning that child support should provide the children with the same lifestyle they had before the parents divorced. However, in Michigan, only the custodial parent receives child support. To calculate support, the state will consider the income of both parents and other factors concerning additional children, child care and medical needs. The state uses a number of formulas and calculations to take into account all the relevant factors. You may seek assistance from the state to verify your calculations.

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