How do I get an order for support?

A petition requesting the court to grant an order for support must be filed with the court. If both parties agree and sign an agreement (stipulation and consent agreement), that agreement will be entered as a support order if it is approved by the court.

Do I need to have an attorney to get an order for support?

It is not required that you have an attorney to file a petition for support in a divorce action. However, an attorney may be helpful when filing papers and following specific rules. For paternity and family support actions, the Prosecuting Attorney can assist you with the filing of a petition for support.

Does the judge have to use the Child Support Guideline or the Friend of the Court recommendations when setting support orders?

The Child Support Guideline and the Friend of the Court recommendation are used to assist the judge in making a decision concerning support amounts. The judge does not have to follow the Friend of the Court recommendation or guideline when making a final decision.

If I have been paying my child support and the custodial parent is not allowing visitation, do I have to keep paying support?

Yes, visitation and support are separate orders of the court, with separate enforcement procedures (See visitation enforcement section - page 15).

The non-custodial parent is not paying support. What can I do?

Contact the Friend of the Court and request enforcement if the back support equals payments of four weeks or more. You may also contact an attorney to file an enforcement action.

The payer of support is self-employed and not making his or her support payments. What can the Friend of the Court do?

Income withholding orders are not usually effective when a payer is self-employed. In these cases, the Friend of the Court may seek enforcement using one or more of the following options: 

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    • Petitioning the court for a show cause hearing.
    • Submitting the payer's name for tax intercept.
    • Filing a lien on the payer's property. Contact your Friend of the Court office for further information concerning these options.

My court order states that I am to pay support through the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU). Can I pay the support to the custodial parent directly?

Not without changing your court order. Support is paid through the MiSDU in order that an official record of payments is maintained. If you want credit for payments made directly to the custodial parent, you must obtain a court order that directs the Friend of the Court to credit your account for a specific amount.

If child support has been ordered by the court and either parent has a major increase or decrease in income, what can be done?

The Michigan Child Support Guideline requires the Friend of the Court to consider both parent's income when making child support recommendations. If either party has had a large increase or decrease in income, they may wish to contact the Friend of the Court to request a review of the support order (see Support Modification Section). If you and the payee can mutually agree to a change in your support order, and you sign a written agreement (stipulation and consent agreement), that agreement will be entered as an order, if approved by the court.

Does the Friend of the Court have the right to deduct statutory service fees from a child support payment?

Michigan Court Rules provide that the Friend of the Court may deduct unpaid fees from any support money paid after the fee is due (January 2nd and July 2nd of each year).

If I am receiving public assistance do I still get child support?

No, all child support payments paid while you are receiving public assistance must be sent by the Friend of the Court to the Department of Human Services. However, if the payer is making payments, you are entitled to receive from the Department of Human Services up to the first $50.00 of any child support paid each month. If you have questions about this program, contact your local Department of Human Services support specialist.

Is the Friend of the Court responsible for making sure that child support money is being spent on the child?

The law does not give the Friend of the Court the right to question how child support payments are spent.