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Income Withholding for Child Support

After July 1st 1983 every child support order has to include an income withholding order.

What is an income withholding order?

This is a paper signed by a judge that goes to the employer of the person who has to pay support. It tells the employer to take the child support out of that person's paycheck before he or she gets it. The employer then has to send the money to the Office of the Friend of the Court.

What if the employer will not go along with the order?

The employer has to follow the order. If the employer does not, the employer can be brought into court for contempt of court.

Can an employer fire a person just because of the income withholding order?

NO! This is against the law. If the employer does this he or she has to hire the person back with back pay and has to pay a court fine of up to $500. The employer also cannot do anything else to punish a person for getting an income withholding order.

What if the person changes jobs?

The new employer has to start taking child support out of the paycheck as soon as he or she gets a copy of the original income withholding order. There does not need to be a new order.

What if the person paying support is not working?

An income withholding order can also be put against things like unemployment, pension payments, workers compensation, social security, and income tax returns.

What about support orders from before July 1st 1983?

If the person who is supposed to be paying support owes more than a certain number of weeks in back child support, the person he or she owes the support to or the Friend of the Court can go into court and get an income withholding order.

If I have to pay child support, is there any way I can get out of having an income withholding order on my check?

Yes. As long as you pay child support on time and do not get behind, the Friend of the Court will not mail the income withholding order to your employer. If you do get behind, the Friend of the Court will give you a warning and two weeks to catch up before they send the Order to your employer.

Also, if the person you are supposed to pay support to is not on FIP - public assistance, the two of you can sign a paper called an Automatic Enforcement Exemption Agreement. This paper tells the Friend of the Court that the person who is getting the support does not want any income withholding on your paycheck.

This information is not a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal advice, see a lawyer.

If you fee you are being harassed, call a lawyer or your legal aid office.

Legal services of Northern Michigan can provide legal assistance to low-income persons in civil matters.

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