Michigan's top law enforcement agency recently sharpened their efforts to keep parents accountable for taking care of their children. Failure to pay court-ordered child support or alimony can land a person in jail, which happened to more than 60 people across the Wolverine State over a single day in September 2018.
The sweep was limited to parents who had been ordered to pay and had the financial means to do so, yet refused to comply with the court. These are often referred to as "deadbeat moms" or "deadbeat dads." Disagreements in the divorce process or between divorced parents may lead to these failures, but children become the victims.
"Thousands of Michigan children go without food, clothing or housing every day because their parent refuses to help provide for them," according to Michigan's attorney general. "We have one goal: make life better for Michigan kids by getting them the money they need to grow up to be healthy and happy."
Some of the parents arrested in the recent sweep owed nearly $50,000 in arrears ordered during or after a divorce case. A few of the suspects also had previous criminal convictions for domestic violence, child abuse, child neglect and other charges connected to or separate from the child support cases.
If a parent refuses to meet court-ordered child support needs, the spouse with custody may sue to claim arrears or change support arrangements. An attorney may help prepare a lawsuit, advise clients on their best interests, take a child support case to court and fulfill any other legal needs for divorced parents.