Child Support / Passport Cancellation :
The Friend of the Court has several major powers to enforce parenting time and payment of child support. These include license suspension, referral for felony non-support, booting your vehicle, property liens, credit reporting, etc. License suspension can include everything from recreational licenses such as hunting and fishing, to professional licenses such as a bar license or driver’s license. One such enforcement mechanism is the suspension of passports. The Friend of the Court can suspend a person’s passport once the payor is $2,500.00 in arrears. Once the passport denial request is in the system, it will not be released until the amount owed is zero.
In some circumstances, where there is a good reason, this cancellation may be lifted temporarily. Examples of circumstances which do not constitute good cause according to a recent publication in the Oakland County Bar Association Laches November Issue, include “a desire to attend a friend or relative’s destination wedding, a real estate training junket in the Caribbean even though the payor has stated for some time that they have not actually earned any income as a real estate agent, a honeymoon that is supposedly being paid for by the bride’s family, or to go on vacation because their significant other has a timeshare in Mexico….” The sole example given of a situation where good cause may actually exist is where international travel is necessary to secure a job which can be shown will be used to pay child support. However, in this scenario significant documentation will be required. The easier solution is to avoid getting to this point in the first place.
If you or someone you know is having an issue with Friend of the Court it is important to retain an experienced attorney to represent you. By opening up a dialogue with FOC, such enforcement measures can be avoided. If you cannot afford your child support or if circumstances have changed we can work to get your support obligation changed going forward.
Direct payments are when one parent gives a parent support payments directly, rather than paying through the friend of the court. Friend of the court provides payment coupons to send to their office with your payment so it can be properly attributed. Alternatively, you can even have support taken directly out of your paycheck.
If you have a good relationship with your co-parent, or sometimes even if you do not, at times it can be tempting to just make direct support payments. However, this is a very bad idea. When you make direct payments, instead of making payment through Friend of the Court these payments are not credited to your account. In other words, despite making consistent payments you may be accruing significant arrearages. This could include revocation of licenses, passport cancellations, real and personal property liens, booting your car, and others. You may end up paying your child support obligation twice. Unless you have a signed opt order from a judge, do not ever pay child support directly!
If you have already been making direct payments, all is not lost. Particularly if the payee is cooperative, or if you have kept a good paper trail of receipts, credits may sometimes be retroactively attributed to your account. However, this may not compensate you from all the damage that has accrued as a result of the arrearages. Credit reporting, attorney’s fees to have property liens removed, overdraft fees from bank liens, etc. None of these will be recompensated, so it is better to just pay through the system in the first place.
Direct Payments and Friend of the Court? If you are facing a backlog of damages as a result of direct payments, our offices can help get your payments credited. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.