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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Felony Child Support Cases Get Review by Michigan Supreme Court

Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court granted leave on three cases challenging the constitutionality of the Felony Non-support Act; the statute criminalizing the failure to pay timely child support to the custodial parent.

This blog has covered the felony child support issue relative to the People v Likine case from Oakland County Circuit Court.  That case, along with People v Harris (from the Muskegon Circuit Court) and People v Parks (Ingham County), were granted leave for further appeal. 

A decision from the Supreme Court is expected sometime in 2011.

In Harris, Justice Robert Young, Jr. dissented from the majority of his colleagues in granting leave on the grounds that the appellant pled guilty in the trial court, cutting a deal on his child support payments to avoid jail.

One of the defenses that will be addressed in all three pending cases is whether a child support payor charged with this felony can raise the issue of his or her “inability to pay” in the criminal court.  Of course that defense is often raised in family court. 

Once you’ve been charged with felony child support, however, the “inability to pay” defense is unavailable per the Michigan Court of Appeals holding in the published case of People v Adams.  In granting leave for further appeal, the High Court expressly directed the parties to address the constitutionality of the Adams holding.

Generally, if you are having difficulty keeping your child support obligation current, you should immediately seek relief in the family court before you build an arrearage. 

An arrearage, if significant, can lead to a felony charge.  Technically, a day late and a dollar short is all that is required by the prosecutor to charge a case.

If you’ve already been charged, then you can still attempt to seek relief from the family court in the form of a reduced ongoing monthly obligation and, with the payee-parent’s consent, a waiver of interest and service fees.  There must be some basis for modification other than you simply ignoring your obligation.

We will keep our readers updated on this strand of cases.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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December 15, 2010 at 3:32 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that Deadbeat Dad's need to pay, but I don't understand how they can pay when they are in prison? Also, I don't understand why they need to have a lawyer to input into the system that they are unable to pay?

January 21, 2011 at 2:14 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the obvious isn't clear to the public and law makers just like the previous comment states. How can dad's (deadbeat removed on purpose) pay if they are in jail? How can they pay if they are denied resources fundamentally given to those who are financially blessed or don't have kids like me? (e.g. some states deny drivers or professional licenses)Someone needs to challenge these laws because they violate some constitutional laws. I would donate to the cause if a group were to challenge this in the Supreme Court.

March 22, 2011 at 10:08 PM 
Anonymous Charles said...

I agree. I fell behind because my last employers garnished child support from my check but were not actually sending it in to the OCSE. I'm trying to get that problem rectified in court, but in the meantime the state has taken my drivers license. I live in a rural area and would have to drive 20-40 miles depending on the city worked in each day to work. Because my license was taken, I was unable to maintain insurance on my vehicle. Because I was unable to maintain insurance, the leinholder repossessed my vehicle. Because I could no longer get to/from work, I lost my job. Now I am basically up a creek. I have no family in the area and no friends who can drive 40-80 miles round trip every day to get me to work. I live in fear of the day I am arrested and placed in the modern debtor's prison with no hope of ever paying and getting out. Of course, since I can no longer pay rent, they will have to arrest me soon (within a month) or track me down in the homeless shelter (I hope I can get in there, otherwise I may simply starve to death). Everything will fall apart soon.

May 10, 2011 at 7:24 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friend of the court only cares about how much money they will make period! They financially destroyed me garnishing my business account. I was sued by my supplier whom got a $10,000 judgement against me and forced into bankruptcy. Ontop of that, friend of the court reports derogatory information on my credit profile. Financially destroyed but expected to pay Outrageously or face jail time!! In 2007, I was charged with felony non-support, I slept in a warehouse for a year to pay them $15,000.00 .. At the same time, not only was I paying friend of the court here in Michigan, but I was also providing Income to my youngest daughter & her mom in Tennessee. My youngest daughters mom was deathly Ill and could not work!! My Exwife in Michigan tells friend of the court that I am traveling back n forth to Tennessee and am a Flight risk, so friend of the court say's I cannot leave the state.. May 20th 2007 my youngest daughters mom passed away, Overdose of prescribed medication.. Thanks to friend of the court & my xwife here in Michigan my now 13 year old daughter has no mom... I drove to Tennessee and brought my daughter back to Michigan. I now have to provide shelter and care for her. I paid Mishigan friend of the court the $15,000.00 and the felony was squashed. Now because I cannot pay them ANY some of money, they want to charge me again with a felony.. They took my daughter mom from her and now they want to destroy her dad.. I am so F****n sick of thier bullshit!! From day one they deliberately set out to destroy one parent for the sole purpose of profit! I strongly believe that Friend of the Court has over stepped thier boundries and are neglegent in thier practices!!

September 12, 2011 at 12:54 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Family Courts FOC, Collecting millions in revenue off American families across the united states. Friend of the Court, seeks out the paternity parents using a state aid program, offering to provide aid in return for testimony in prosecution of non-custodial parents. This institution has grown largely off destroying family integrity.

Below is a link to Abolish the law, felony non support by way of petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

November 2, 2011 at 1:51 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have been convicted of felony child support and owe 100,ooo stayed with ex after giving house 10 achers in divorce hoping all would work out value of home and property at the time 250.000 not enough myself and my family built the entire place property was in my famil for 100 years not enough for her my children live with me i have done over a year in jail total ex now ownes 3 homes i live in a mobile home but i love my children and they love me forgot to mention amount owed at time of divorce was under 8000 money cant buy love or respect i am not a bad dad or a deadbeat as i have been labled after all my children and i have been through i still wouldnt change a thing they have became very good humans unlike many I know and see sorry about my typying skills kids are teaching me by the way my kids ar not exactly kids anymore 27 20 and 18 morel offfffffffffffff the story dont judge a book by its cover,,,, proud pappy from the creek

December 16, 2011 at 10:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those looking to get this abolished see debtors jail which this IS a form of. Debtors jail was abolished not only by this state but as well at the federal level. And please spare me the contempt of court run around. They are in contempt for failure to PAY. The end! Regardless of all that it is stupid and backwards thinking that is costing us dearly both socially and economically. Most who typically get caught up are poor and no education and THAT is what needs to be fixed. Education/work is the answer not jail which prevents everything and keeps people tied at the hip to the system. Jailing a childs parent is not helping that child at all and anyone who thinks otherwise is foolish. Reasons why we keep repeating the cycle of violence/missing parent from childs life etc. You throw a person in jail with REAL criminals what do you think happens to them? It also bothers me to no end that this state ( and many like it ) keep releasing real criminals ( violent etc ) o make room for people like this. It needs to stop.

April 4, 2012 at 2:04 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the person who asked why they had to pay when they were incarcerated and no ability to work to make money.....I am the other side of that story....I wasn't incarcerated and I worked 2 jobs or 1 job with overtime many years....I worked midnights and slept on my couch to watch my daughter and I ran a household with 2 step children and a husband....I didn't get any extra anything....I worked to make my life, went without sometimes to make sure my kids had what they needed all the while his stupid law breaking self was "incarcerated" with no means to pay! Well guess what? Life didn't stop just because he "couldn't" help......So to answer your question.....those that are incarcerated should pay and should pay all consequences for their behaviors while theiy are incarcerated and when they get out!

People like myself had to make up for what you idiots didn't bother with...all because you were poor things!

June 29, 2012 at 11:46 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To get the money back from your last employer is a matter of suing them. Pay stubs should show the money coming out of checks, and print out from FOC with same dates should be all the proof you need.

January 8, 2013 at 7:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have your obligation to child support re-evaluated. prove your bills vs. income.

January 8, 2013 at 7:27 PM 

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