1. Q: What authority does the Friend of the Court have in reducing or compromising some or all of the arrears owed to the State of Michigan?
A: Michigan State law. MCL 205.13(4).
2. Q: Which State owed arrears may qualify for reduction?
A: Only Permanently Assigned Child Support Arrears or Foster Care arrears owed to the State. Michigan Department of Community Health has not agreed to waive medical arrears nor confinement arrears.
3. Q: Why is the State of Michigan authorizing reduction of arrears in some situations?
A: In certain situations where extreme hardship exists, reduction of uncollectible debt may allow the State, and the Friend of the Court to focus their resources on collectible debt.
4. Q: How do I know if I qualify for one of the plans?
A: You must demonstrate that you currently have an extreme difficulty in paying the arrears that currently exist and that you have not intentionally avoided payment of your obligation in the past. Be prepared to submit documentation to support any/all claims. If your history reflects that you have failed to cooperate with, and/or kept our office updated; failed to appear; hid income/assets; etc. that will be considered as intentional avoidance of your obligation.
5. Q: Will I have to complete a separate application for each case I have?
A: Not if your cases are all in the same county. If you have cases in different counties, you must apply separately in each county.
6. Q: Is the Friend of the Court required to participate in this program?
A: No. This program is voluntary. Calhoun County has elected to participate.
7. Q: What criteria have the State of Michigan set for reviewing these applications?
A: Your ability or inability to work and pay, your assets, your current or projected employment, your age/life expectancy, your health status, your past/current incarceration status, your location, your public assistance history, your eligibility for VA or SSA benefits, whether or not your current or past order for support was based upon ability to earn vs. actual wage information, whether or not you were historically compliant with your order, whether or not you hid assets or income, failed to timely report income, address or asset information, your participation in job programs when available, whether you provided non-monetary support to the child on an ongoing basis, whether you appeared at hearings and appointments, whether you provided information when requested, whether you currently reside with the custodial parent or have married, whether the children are in your home/custody, as well as other potential factors.
8. Q: Will I be required to provide additional information to the Friend of the Court other than what is stated on the application?
A: You will be required to meet with your enforcement officer before receiving an application. Be prepared to provide proof of any/all information you provide to the Friend of the Court. We may also call to further verify information submitted.
9. Q: If I don’t qualify for the arrears reduced program, are there other programs?
A: If you have $1000 or more that you can pay, you may qualify for a lump sum program where the state will agree to forgive an equal amount of any state arrears with each payment of $1000 or more. If you do not have $1000 or more to offer, and if all of the arrears are owed to the state in all of your cases, you may file a motion with the court seeking a payment plan in exchange for dismissal of state arrears.
10. Q: Does my bond, tax intercept, or lien/levy on an asset or account count as a lump sum payment if qualified for that program?
A: No. Only payments that are voluntary will be considered if you are approved for the lump sum program.
11. Q: How long will it take to for the Friend of the Court to determine if I am eligible for either program?
A: We do not know how many people will request to participate in the program, but will complete the evaluations as soon as possible.
12. Q: Do I have to continue to pay my support and arrears while I am waiting for a decision?
A: YES. Until such time as it is determined your arrears may be forgiven, you are still court ordered to comply.
13. Q: How are people notified about this program?
A: The Friend of the Court may contact people whose cases have been identified with a potentially qualifying factor. Other agencies that interact with people who owe child support may also refer them to the Friend of the Court.
14. Q: What if I have a warrant for child support? Will that prevent me from participating?
A: Before you can participate, you must resolve your warrant. You may contact our office to discuss bond modification or how to turn yourself in on your warrant.
15. Q: Where can I find or obtain forms?
A: You must first discuss your case with your enforcement officer to provide information regarding your extreme hardship. After this appointment, they may provide you with the applicable form.