A child support order is a court order directing a parent to pay a specific amount of money for the support of minor children not living with them. Child support orders may be issued as part of a divorce settlement, family support case, paternity action, and interstate case.
In Michigan, child support is determined by a formula. A link to the formula manual is provided below, as well as a link to the public calculator.
Child support generally stops when a child reaches the age of eighteen or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last, but under certain conditions may be ordered to continue until the child reaches age nineteen and one half.
When a child support order is entered, the court will usually order that the payments be automatically deducted from the payer’s paycheck. This process is known as establishing an Income Withholding Order (IWO), and is required by law. When the employer begins taking the money from the payer’s paycheck, it will be forwarded to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit, and then distributed to the person authorized to receive the child support payments. The Friend of the Court is also required to keep a record of all payments, and to take appropriate action if payments are missed.
In order to assist with child support, you must have a court case in Allegan County. You can open a court case by filing on your own or through a private attorney, or by requesting establishment services through the state. To request establishment services, you must contact the Allegan County Department of Health and Human Services to begin the process. These establishment services are free, and you do not need to receive public assistance to have access to ask for help.
If you are not receiving your court ordered child support payments, and you would like to have the Friend of the Court take appropriate action on your case, you can do so by filling out the Non-Pay Child Support Complaint form below under "Resources". When completed, forward the form to the Friend of the Court office and they will take appropriate steps as quickly as they are able.
If you are unable to make your child support payment, keeping in contact with the Friend of the Court is very important. Your Enforcement Specialist may be able to suggest options for you, such as requesting a review of support or their ability to delay enforcement based on your situation. Additionally, the Allegan County Friend of the Court has a specialized program, called the Alternative Contempt Track (ACT) program, which allows us to help people who routinely struggle to make their support payments due to certain barriers. Participants in the ACT program can receive assistance with issues like substance abuse, mental health concerns, chronic unemployment, homelessness, and limitations related to literacy and education. If you would like more information on this program, please review the FAQ at the top of this page and/or contact the Allegan County Friend of the Court office.
Child Support Payments
A support review is a review of the monthly child support and child care obligations that charges on each case following the application of the Michigan Child Support Formula. The Friend of the Court will conduct a review of support under these conditions:
- Upon request of either party. You are entitled to a review of support every three years. If it has been less than three years since your last review, you are required to show a reason why the review should be conducted, based on changes that have ocurred.
- Every 3 years when the recipient of the support receives public assistance.
- Upon initiative of the FOC staff when certain criteria are met.
A support review can take up to six months to complete. At the beginning of a review, the Friend of the Court will send you a questionnaire to complete and may request additional documentation, such as taxes and/or paystubs. When the Friend of the Court receives this information, a recommendation regarding child support will be sent to both parties. If neither party files an objection to the recommendation, it will be sent to the judge for approval. If either party files an objection to the recommendation, the Friend of the Court will schedule a hearing date before the Attorney/Referee to discuss the objection(s) and will provide a recommendation to the parties. You would also have an opportunity to object to the decision of the Attorney/Referee if you disagreed with the recommendation, and you are responsible to schedule a hearing with your judge.