Overview of Child Support

A “support order” is an order entered by the Court that requires the payment of support. Support may include:

  • child support;
  • spousal support;
  • payment of expenses for medical, dental and other health care expenses;
  • childcare expenses; and
  • educational expenses.

In 1975 the U.S. Congress established the IV-D child support program to coordinate the services and benefits available to families with dependent children. The IV-D child support program was originally established as an “income transfer program” providing the means for transferring income from one parent (at that time, typically the dad) to the other parent (at that time, typically the mom) since in the early 1970’s dads typically worked and moms typically stayed home to raise the children.

Of course today, families are much different than they were in the 1970’s. Both parents may work, one parent may work, or neither parent may work because of layoff, inability to find employment, disability or other employability issues.

Today’s IV-D program includes enforcement tools such as income withholding, income tax refund interception, federal parent locator services, and other enforcement remedies.

Any person with custody of a child who needs help to establish a child support or medical support order, any parent who already has a support order who needs help to collect support payments or any non-custodial parent can apply for IV-D child support.

If you are receiving public assistance from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid or federally assisted Foster Care programs, you will be automatically referred to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (“DHHS”) Office of Child Support (“OCS”) for child support services.

You may also obtain forms and apply for IV-D services from the FOC or the Prosecutor’s Office in the county in which you live. In Cass County, the Prosecutor’s Office (Child Support Division) establishes most new child support orders including establishing paternity if paternity has not already been established at the time of a child’s birth.

In addition to the establishment of a child support order, the IV-D system can provide assistance with support enforcement, reviews and modifications, paternity establishment, absent parent locating, and monitoring of support payments.

Child Support Basics

In MICSES, child support charges on the first (1st) day of the month for the whole month.

Parties who have a support order, must immediately inform the FOC of any change in:

  • your address;
  • the name and address of your employer;
  • your health insurance; and
  • any changes in your employment that will affect the payment of your child support (e.g. mergers, plant shutdowns, relocations, lay-off, etc.)

Making Support Payments

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MISDU)  has the responsibility to collect and forward child and spousal support to the payee. State law requires MiSDU to receive, record and send out all support payments due, current and past due not less than once each month.  Once a year, upon a written request, the FOC will provide parties with a statement of the support account free of charge. Payments for support may be made by personal check, money order, income withholding and mailed to:

Michigan State Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 30351
Lansing MI 48909-7851

THE FOC OFFICE WILL ONLY TAKE PAYMENTS  IN CASH OR BY CERTIFIED CHECK!

CASH SHOULD NOT BE MAILED.

YOU CAN MAKE PAYMENTS BY CREDIT CARD

BY PUSHING THE BUTTON “CLICK HERE TO PAY NOW” ABOVE!

Accessing Information About Payments

You can access information about your child support account, payments received, arrearage, etc., 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by dialing 1-877-543-2660.   The Cass County code is 227, which is the first three letters of the county (CAS).

Click this link MISDU to obtain information and forms for:

• Changing your address 
• Printing a temporary payment coupon 
• Changing your PIN Number 
• Direct deposit of support payments
• Making an online support payment 
• Rules about distribution and allocation of support when a payer has multiple cases

To obtain yearly statements or printouts, please send a written request to:

Cass County Friend of the Court
Attn: Account Clerk
60296 M-62, Room 3
Cassopolis, MI 49031

or by sending an e-mail to the attention of the Account Clerk at FOC@cassco.org.

Click this link for information on Electronic Distribution of Child Support

Retroactive Changes in Support

Child support usually cannot be modified retroactively. MCL 552.603. If you lose your job but wait several months before seeking modification of your child support order, you will still be liable for the child support amount ordered until the day a motion to change support is filed. While it could take weeks for the FOC to make a recommendation about the new amount of child support, a new support obligation will be retroactive to the day a motion to modify support was filed with the Court.

If you do not contact the FOC when your income changes, you could regret it later. It could cost you a lot of money that you would not have been responsible for if you had done so.  A limited exception to the rule against retroactive modification of support is found in the statute that prohibits retroactive modification.

This law means that if a person does not tell FOC of a change in his or her income though he or she knows of the requirement to do so, or lies about his or her income, the support amount can be changed back to what it should be have been if the change had been reported. If the requirement for notice is in the support order, then the Court will find that the person knew or should have known about the requirement to notify the FOC of an income change. Not allowing retroactive modification in this situation would be rewarding something done in contempt of the order of the Court.