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I was just ordered to pay child support and I received a letter stating I am already in arrears, what does this mean?

An arrearage for child support purposes means that there is an outstanding monthly child support obligation that has not been paid. Unfortunately if you have recently been ordered to pay child support through the Friend of the Court, then you may likely be in arrears. After a child support order has been established, it then takes time for the child support order to be processed. After the Friend of the Court processes the child support order, the Friend of the Court then sends the income withholding to the Michigan Disbursement Unit; the Michigan Disbursement Unit then processes the order and forwards that Order to the Payer’s employer. After the Order has been processed by all of these agencies, then child support is automatically deducted from a Payer’s check.

The time is takes for all of these agencies to process this single Order can take weeks. Therefore, by the time child support is directly taken out of your pay, you are already a month in arrears. Most courts understand that Payer’s are likely in arrears initially.

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I was just served with divorce paperwork, what do I do?

If you received divorce paperwork you should have received a document called a “Summons and Complaint”, form MC 01 (at the bottom).  Read this form carefully.  This form will tell you how many days you have to file an “Answer” to the Complaint for Divorce.

You have 21 days after receipt of the Summons to file an Answer if you were served by way of personal service.  If you were served by mail, you have 28 days to file and Answer, or take other legal action.  You must file an Answer (possibly multiple copies) with the court and serve a copy on the other party, or the other party’s attorney.

If you do not file an Answer you are subjecting yourself to be in default.  A judgment may be entered against you in favor of the other party’s requests. You are also subjecting yourself from being precluded from participating in the divorce action.