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.

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.

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.

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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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What Are the Sentencing Guidelines in Michigan for Nonpayment of Child Support?
 

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Idaho Child Support Laws for a Non-Paying Parent

When parents separate or divorce, the custodial parent is typically entitled to child support from the parent who does not have primary custody. Idaho's child support guidelines set forth the amount the non-custodial parent must pay. The paying parent generally must make child support payments until a child turns 18. If payments are not made, Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare is authorized to enforce a court order to obtain payments.

Massachusetts' Child Support Laws

As in other states, Massachusetts parents must provide financial support for their children, even if the parents are not married. When parents divorce, their divorce court sets a child support amount that the non-custodial parent must pay toward his child's care. In Massachusetts, child support amounts are set by court guidelines and are enforceable by state law.

Alabama Laws on Child Support & the Restart of Child Support

Child support in Alabama is usually determined in a straightforward manner. As in many other states, Alabama uses the "income shares" model to determine child support. The formula takes into account the combined gross income of both parents, percentage each parent earns and several other factors such as who pays for health insurance. Either parent can ask for the child support amount to be recalculated at any time when there is a change of circumstances. There are situations when child support is stopped and then restarted, but they are rare.

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