Friend of the Court
Child Support Enforcement
Support Enforcement & COVID-19
Due to staff limitations caused by COVID-19, discretionary enforcement of support may be delayed. Discretionary enforcement includes show cause hearings, license suspensions, and liens. Automatic enforcement remedies are still in place and include tax refund offset, bank account liens (under certain circumstances), and passport denial. Most Friend of the Court staff are attempting to work remotely from home and are trying to monitor and track cases for enforcement once we are back to normal operations.
Notification that enforcement action has begun is typically by letter or notice to the payer of support that an arrearage has been identified and that this outstanding balance requires action. Failure to respond to this request brings further action with an appointment set with a case manager to address the issue. If no resolution can be reached at this point, then the case may be subject to additional enforcement actions, including among other resolutions, referral to an Order to Show Cause (OTSC) hearing.
If you receive child support and would like additional enforcement on your case, or if you have information about the other parent that may be helpful as we attempt to enforce your child support order, please contact the Friend of the Court to share that information.
Enforcement (OTSC) Hearings
Both parties will be notified by mail of a scheduled OTSC hearing. On hearing day, a case manager may meet with the parties involved prior to the hearing to gather information and/or to resolve the non-compliance. If a resolution cannot be reached at the OTSC hearing, an FOC staff member will present information from the FOC record to the Judge hearing the case, and the Judge will make the actual decision as to the disposition. The FOC does not directly represent either party in these proceedings. Additional information regarding OTSC hearings can be found in the FOC brochure, Helpful Information to Prepare you for your Order to Show Cause Hearing.
The Kent County Friend of the Court uses bench warrants as a tool to help with the enforcement of court orders. The purpose of the bench warrant is to bring the payer before the court. Bench warrants serve as a last resort when other remedies have failed. If you have an active bench warrant through the Friend of the Court, please contact us right away by phone, e-mail or in person. We will attempt to work with you to resolve this matter before you are arrested.
Bench Warrant FAQs
Why do I have a bench warrant?
A warrant was probably issued because you failed to appear as ordered at a contempt proceeding. A warrant may also issue if you did not comply with an order from your last contempt proceeding and that order required a warrant to be issued for your failure to comply.
What happens if I am arrested?
If you are unable to post the original bond, you will be lodged in the jail. The Friend of the Court will interview you in an attempt to resolve the warrant. If this is not successful, you will be arraigned before a Circuit Court Family Division Judge. You may be ordered to pay a specific amount or serve time in jail.
After I post bond, do I have any further hearings?
Yes. You should have been provided a hearing date on your bond paperwork or by the arresting agency. If you were not, contact us immediately. If you do not attend this hearing, another bench warrant may be issued for your arrest.
If I posted the bond or someone posted it for me, will it be returned to me if I appear?
Your bond will be addressed at the hearing. In most cases, the bond will be applied to any past due child support obligation.
Additional Enforcement Actions
- The law allows the FOC to place a lien against property owned by the payer of support when an arrearage has accrued. Garnishments may also be served against a delinquent payer's inheritance.
- A commonly used enforcement remedy is the interception of a payer's state and federal tax refunds.
- An additional tool for the prosecution of certain non-payers of child support, the Michigan Attorney
General assists with felony prosecution of non-payers. A custodial parent can fill
out the Felony Non-Support – Custodial Parent
and mail it to the AG's office.
Their address is:
Department of Attorney General
Child Support Division
PO Box 30758
Lansing, MI 48909-8258