How does Michigan address the issue of back child support payments?

Understanding Back Child Support in Michigan

In Michigan, child support is a legal obligation that is taken seriously. The state enforces child support orders to ensure that children receive the financial support they are entitled to from both parents. However, when a parent falls behind on these payments, the issue of back child support, also known as arrears, arises. Michigan has specific measures in place to address this problem and ensure that children receive the support they need.

Enforcement of Child Support Orders

Michigan's Friend of the Court (FOC) is responsible for enforcing child support orders. When a parent fails to make timely payments, the FOC has several tools at its disposal:

Retroactive Child Support

Sometimes, a parent may owe retroactive child support, which is support owed from before the date a support order was established. Michigan courts can order retroactive child support going back to the birth of the child or another appropriate date.

Payment Plans and Settlements

For parents struggling with arrears, Michigan allows for payment plans to be set up. The FOC works with parents to establish reasonable payment schedules that take into account their financial situations. In some cases, the state may agree to settle for a lesser amount if it means receiving some payment towards the debt.

Historical Reference

A notable historical reference is the 1998 amendment to the Social Security Act known as the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act (DPPA), which strengthened enforcement across the United States, including Michigan. This federal law targets parents who move to different states to avoid paying child support.


Michigan takes its responsibility to ensure children receive financial support from both parents very seriously. Through various enforcement methods and supportive measures for those facing financial difficulties, Michigan strives to address the issue of back child support with fairness and efficiency.