Both the county prosecutor and the Michigan Attorney General have the authority to charge cases of non-payment of child support. It is considered a “strict liability” crime, meaning that if the prosecutor proves: a) a valid support obligation was ordered by a family court judge; and b) the payor failed to pay the ordered amount of support, then the felony has been established. Once charged, there are few options other than a plea agreement. You will need a lawyer for a good outcome.
A felony conviction causes all manner of hardship for child support payors. While many “dead beat dads” do deserve felony convictions, others are caught in the prosecutorial net and pay a disproportionate price. Of course, the best practice for the child support payor is to do whatever it takes to keep the obligation current and satisfied. This means staying in touch with your account on the Michigan State Disbursement Unit [MiSDU], the federally required payment system maintained here in Michigan. You can also seek assistance from the county Friend of the Court; they will provide you with a print-out showing the monthly charges and payments. Another great practice is to maintain your own detailed records of your payments, tracking them through the system and making sure the checks are getting cashed by MiSDU.
If, despite your efforts, you fall behind and wind-up with a criminal charge of felony non-support, you have some options. Our family law attorneys are experienced in defending such felony charges and can assist you in the development of a plan that may prevent a felony conviction.
To discuss your options in this regard, contact our office for a free consultation; things will start looking more manageable immediately.