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How does Michigan handle child support?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | Firm News |

Michigan residents know that our state plays by its own rules. And this applies to child support as well.  The Michigan Child Support Program has an approach that is somewhat unusual compared to those of other states.

What is the Michigan’s Child Support Program?

The Michigan’s Child Support Program is designed to meet the needs of the children (both emotional and financial) with the help of both parents. Their goal is to help facilitate that cooperation for the well-being of the child.

What are the benefits?

The MCSP believes that the program and the regular payments it facilitates provides four benefits. First, the MCSP helps parents work out a financial partnership for their children’s support. Second, this facilitation decreases the likelihood of parental conflict. Third, the MCSP program seeks to increase the non-custodial parent’s involvement in the child’s life, and not just acting like an ATM. Finally, the MCSP hopes that, at the end of their involvement, the parents have increased the likelihood of the child’s success.

What are MCSP’s four prongs?

Obviously, you would do anything for your child, but neither parent should have to do everything alone. MCSP has four prongs (four different organizations): the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Support, Prosecuting Attorney, Michigan State Disbursement Unit and the Friend of the Court.

What does the Office of Child Support do?

For those without an attorney, your first call is to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Support. They will connect you with public assistance immediately, and then, get your child support case started.

Do I need an attorney?

A Michigan family law judge must grant a child support order. If you are low income, OCS can help connect you with Legal Aid or low-cost options. Of course, for contentious divorces, seeking your own attorney is likely the better option as Legal Aid attorneys often juggle a tremendous amount of varying cases, rather than specializing in one facet of the law.

What is the Michigan State Disbursement Unit and Friend of the Court?

MSDU manages the receipt and dispersal of child support payments according to the child support order. Then, the Friend of the Court reviews compliance with that order.