Michigan Reentry Law Wiki

Family Issues: Child Support

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On average, Michigan prisoners owe $28,000 in back child support. Garnishment for child support arrears (back payments) is a major financial obstacle for released prisoners. In most cases, it is possible to avoid an incarceration-related arrearage if the issue is address prior to incarceration.

As a general rule, incarcerated parents who do not have significant income or assets will be required to pay little or no child support while incarcerated. However, support can only be modified going into the future. Once support has accrued, the court cannot wipe out back support unless the other party consents.

It is therefore critical that individuals who owe support file motions to suspend support payments - and all surcharges - as soon as possible after being incarcerated.

Self-Help Materials

MI Department of Human Services Child Support Page

General information from MI DHS on child support payments and services.
Court Forms for Modifying Support

If you're incarcerated or facing incarceration, you need to file a motion with the Friend of the Court in order to modify child support payments. You may complete the forms below and mail them to your county Friend of the Court Office.

Letter to Friend of the Court Re Child Support Modification

Prisoner Motion to Modify Support In Pro Per

Prisoner Affidavit and Order for Suspension of Fees/Costs In Pro Per

Friend of the Court Offices by County
Contact information for the Friend of the Court office for each county in Michigan can be obtained through the directory of trial courts by county. The page of each trial court includes contact information for the Friend of the Court in that county.

Individuals with Incarceration-Related Child Support Debt

Don’t Leave Prison in Debt: Stop Your Child Support Now!

This packet is designed as a self-help packet for prisoners who are seeking to modify their child support while incarcerated. Forms to modify support are included.

How Can I Pay Child Support If I’m Locked Up?

What you need to know about paying child support in Michigan if you are, were, or might be incarcerated.

Will I Leave Prison in Debt? What You Need to Know about Paying Child Support in Michigan if You are Incarcerated

This brochure is designed to help incarcerated parents deal with child support issues by filing motions to modify support. Includes forms in appendices.

Child Support Strategies Flowchart

Flowchart prepared by Legal Aid of Western Michigan outlining options for payers with 1) back support owed to custodial parent and state and 2) current support that needs modification.

Child Support Enforcement: Information for Prisoners

Pamphlet prepared by the Family & Corrections Network.

Child Support Issues Power Point Presentation

Presents frequently sought information on Child Support issues including reasons to deal with debt, take action, prevent future problems, etc.
Social Security & Child Support

Factsheet on Social Security and Child Support

Explains that SSI cannot be garnished to pay child support.

Sample Motion to Modify Child Support Where Only Source of Income is Social Security Disability

Sample Motion to Eliminate Child Support Where Only Source of Income is SSI

Repayment Plans

Individuals who owe a substantial amount of back child support may benefit from a state-approved repayment plan, which allows for the forgiveness of the arrearage after the payor makes regular payments for two years or more.

For more information see: MCL 552.605e

Motion Forms for Repayment Plan

Forms to be used to file for a repayment plan.

Order for Repayment Plan

Blank order to be filled out and brought to court when filing a motion for a repayment plan.

Sample Motion for Repayment

A sample motion for repayment where money is owed both to the mother and the State.

Stipulation and Order for Arrears Payment Plan

A sample stipulation filed in Kent County Circuit Court.
Stipulation and Orders for Parents Forgiving Arrearages

When the child support arrearages are owed to the custodial parent, only they can forgive. If the custodial parent agrees to forgive all the back child support they can sign a Stipulation and Order agreeing to do so. Please note that the parent's signature must be done in front of a notary public.

The following is a sample Stipulation and Order. Please make sure that the proper county and judge's name is completed.

Stipulation Order for Parent forgiving arrears


MCL 552.517

Child support orders must be reviewed if the payer is incarcerated or released from incarceration after a criminal conviction and sentenced to a term of more than 1 year.

MCL 552.605e

Repayment plans are available for payers who owe back child support.

Policy Materials

CLASP Fact Sheet: Ex-Offenders Struggle with Child Support Obligations

This report provides background information on the difficulty formerly incarcerated people face in paying back child support. See Chapter 4: Criminal Convictions, Incarceration, and Child Welfare.

Other pages in this section: Children & Families of the Incarcerated - Child Support - Custody & Parenting Time - Parental Rights Termination - Parole & Probation Restrictions on Family Contact - Ability to be an Adoptive or Foster Parent

Section overview: Family Issues

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