A child support order is a court order directing a parent to pay a specific amount of money for the support of minor children not living with them. Child support orders may be issued as part of a divorce settlement, family support case, paternity action, or intergovernmental action. In Michigan, child support is determined by a formula and guidelines established by the State Court Administrator's Office.

In order to assist with child support, you must have an established court case. You can open a court case by filing on your own or through a private attorney, or by requesting establishment services through the state. To request establishment services, you must complete the DHS 1201 - Application for IV-D Services to begin the process. These establishment services are free, and you do not need to receive public assistance to have access to ask for help. The establishment process is completed through the Prosecuting Attorney's office. Once an order is entered, the file is then transferred to the Friend of the Court for collection and enforcement.

When a child support order is entered, the court will usually order that the payments be automatically deducted from the payer's paycheck. This process is known as establishing an Income Withholding Order (IWO), and is required by law. When the employer begins taking the money from the payer's paycheck, it will be forwarded to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit, and then distributed to the person authorized to receive the child support payments. The Friend of the Court is also required to keep a record of all payments, and to take appropriate action if payments are missed.

Support generally stops when a child reaches the age of eighteen or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last, but under certain conditions may be ordered to continue until the child reaches age nineteen and one half. The Court order must specifically state that support will continue past the age of 18. If it does not, a motion must be filed with the Court requesting that an order extension be granted.

You may obtain 24-hour access to your account information, payment summaries, case balances, income withholding notice status, hearing dates, and Friend of the Court information through MiChildSupport.