Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What is the Statute of Limitations on Child Support?

By:  Carole L. Chiamp

Clients sometimes call many years after a divorce complaining that the Michigan Friend of Court is after them for non-payment of support.  Though there may be a moral obligation to pay, the legal right to enforce lasts only so long.  Section 722.3 of the Michigan Compiled Law obligates parents to pay support for their minor children.  The support is calculated under a formula that takes many factors into account, such as number of children, incomes of the parties, overnight parenting times, and child custody arrangements.  In Michigan, the non-custodial payer usually pays by paycheck deduction to an agency (MiSDU) which sends the payment to the custodian parent.

Enforcement falls to the Michigan Friend of Court Bureau.  If a parent fails to pay when ordered the FOC may impose a lien on the non-payer’s real estate, intercept their tax refund, take professional license, garnishee wages, take arrearages from retirement or 401k accounts and attorney fees.

The statute of limitations for enforcement is “10 years from date of the last payment is due”, MCL 600.5809(3).  For example, if a parent owes child support from when a child was three years old, with the last support payment due when the child attains the age of 18, unpaid child support dating back to when the child was four could be collected 25 years later to age 28. [MCL 600.5809(3) and Rzadkowolski v Pefley, unpublished, 237 Mich App 405 (1999)].

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