Is There a Statute on Collecting Child Support in Michigan?

By Lisa S. Kramer

Section 722.3 of the Michigan Compiled Laws is the statute that obligates parents to support their minor children. Michigan courts may order a non-custodial parent to pay the custodial parent support for the care of their minor child. The goal of child support in Michigan is not to punish parents but rather to help parents establish a financial partnership for the sake of their minor children. Child support can include payment of the minor child's health care, child care and educational expenses.

Calculation of Payments

The Michigan State Court Administrative Office's Friend of the Court Bureau has set forth a formula for calculating child support payments. Michigan law, pursuant to Section 552.605 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, requires the court to use this formula for determining the amount of a parent's child support payment. To calculate child support payments in Michigan, visit the Michigan Courts website and use the Support Abatement Calculator. The Support Abatement Calculator considers factors such as the mother's and father's incomes, how many children each parent has, other support obligations, overnight visitation time, child custody arrangements, and health and child care expenses for the child.


Some states allow parents to pay child support directly to the other parent. However, Michigan prohibits this practice. In Michigan, child support payments are sent to a government agency known as the Michigan State Disbursement Unit, which acts as a middleman. Noncustodial parents are required to make payments directly to MiSDU, which then processes the payment and disburses it to the custodial parent. In some cases, a Michigan parent's child support payment may be deducted from his income by his employer through income withholding. The parent's employer sends the parent's withheld income to MiSDU for processing and disbursement to the other parent. Child support payments are received by the custodial parent through direct deposit into a personal checking or savings account or child support debit card.

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If a parent fails to pay child support, Michigan's Friend of the Court Bureau may enforce the child support order by sending an income withholding notice to the parent's employer. Once received, the employer is required to withhold income from the parent and send the money to the MiSDU. The Friend of the Court Bureau may also enforce the child support order by intercepting the parent's state and federal income tax refunds, placing a lien against the parent's real or personal property, or suspending the parent's driver's license.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for collection of unpaid child support payments is 10 years from the date the last child support payment is due under the child support order, regardless of whether or not the last payment is made. For example, if a parent owes child support in Michigan from when a child was 3 years old, with the last support obligation due when the child turns 18, unpaid child support dating back to when the child was 3 could be collected 25 years later, up until the child turns 28.

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