Getting behind on child support payments is a serious matter. In Michigan, all parents are required to financially support their children until they are no longer minors. However, child support can become a burden to some. The amount of child support can quickly add up, and it can become challenging to make these payments along with all of your other expenses. When that is the case, you will face penalties. One of those is a felony criminal charge. So, how much back child support is a felony in Michigan?
Penalties for Failing to Pay Child Support
If you cannot make child support payments, it is essential that you speak with a Michigan family lawyer as soon as possible. The state will take many steps to collect on the support, even before felony charges are laid. These steps may include:
- Withholding income from paychecks
- Withholding tax refunds
- Placing a lien on real property
- Driver’s license suspension
- Reporting on credit report
- Passport denial
- Surcharges added to balance of support owing
Felony Non-Support of Payment of Child Support
Anyone who falls behind $5,000 or more on their child support payments could face felony charges for non-payment of child support. The Michigan Attorney General or the local county prosecutor’s office may lay these charges. A person could also face felony charges if they fall behind on spousal support payments in the same amount. According to the statute that covers this area of law, anyone who is found in child support arrears of $5,000 or more can face up to four years in prison or a fine of $2,000, or both.
How to Avoid These Penalties
If you have been arrested for non-payment of child support, it is important to know that you do still have options. To avoid the penalties you are facing, you will have to make a payment of 50% of the arrears owed. In rare cases, it is possible to have that amount reduced, but you are still generally expected to pay a significant amount of what is owed. You will also have to agree to continue making a small payment every month toward the arrears, along with the regular child support payments.
If you are behind on your child support payments, it is essential that you speak to a Michigan family lawyer. An attorney will know the options you have, including plea bargaining your case to reduce the charges to a felony, or getting the charges dismissed altogether.
Our Child Support Lawyers in Michigan Can Help You Avoid Charges
If you have been ordered to make child support payments but you have gotten behind, our Michigan child support lawyers are here to help. At Iafrate & Salassa, P.C., we know how to help you avoid felony charges and will advise on the options available in your case. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help with your case.