The sagging economy and lack of viable jobs have placed a lot of parents in the position of lagging behind in child support. If you know a parent struggling with a bench warrant as a result of child support payments being in arrears, this article could be a great benefit to them. Not only will the bench warrant be eliminated, but court costs will NOT be assessed.
Remember, this will only apply to those who appear with the funds, a government issued photo ID and proof of income source. For those who do not have the funds, or if there are other outstanding warrants against them, they will need to read the following information carefully.
What is a Friend of the Court bench warrant?
• A bench warrant is a court order to arrest a person and bring that person before the court that issued the warrant. A Friend of the Court bench warrant is issued when the payer of child support does not appear for a Show Cause Hearing.
A Show Cause Hearing is a hearing that is scheduled for the payer to appear and explain to the Court why he or she is not paying child support timely.
What is the Bench Warrant Amnesty Program?
• The program is designed to help those who have child support cases resolve the bench warrant and get them on the path of paying and staying current with support. Qualified payers will not be arrested. The program will not eliminate the amount of child support that you owe, it does not affect current support payments, and it does not forgive any arrears, surcharges or fees.
You may be given information on how to achieve those things when you come in to resolve your warrant. The Friend of the Court can only resolve the Wayne County child support warrant.
Who qualifies for the Bench Warrant Amnesty Program?
• Any payer of support who has an active bench warrant with the Wayne County Friend of the Court qualifies for the Bench Warrant Amnesty Program.
How do I take advantage of the Bench Warrant Amnesty Program?
• Appear in person at the Wayne County Friend of the Court, 645 Griswold, 2nd Floor,
Penobscot Building, Detroit, MI 48226 any time between 8:00 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. from Wednesday, May 1, 2013 through Friday, May 24, 2013.
From Friday, May 17, 2013 to Thursday, May 23, 2013, hours will be extended until 5:30 p.m.
What do I need to bring?
• You MUST bring the following:
- $250.00 or 1% of your child support arrears whichever is greater, in cash or money order
Amnesty will only be given when this payment is made!
- Government issued picture identification
- Proof of income or other sources of income
What can I expect?
• You will meet with an employee of the Wayne County Friend of the Court who will review your case with you. You MUST be prepared to make a payment of $250.00 or 1%, whichever is greater, of your arrears at that time. If you make this amount of payment, a Friend of the Court attorney will dismiss your child support warrant.
If the money is due to the custodial party and his or her appearance is required, the bench warrant will be dismissed and a future hearing date will be set.
What if I do not have $250.00 or 1% of my arrears to pay?
• If you appear unprepared to make a payment of $250.00 or 1%, whichever is greater, you will immediately meet with a Friend of the Court attorney, who will discuss your case with you and determine if you will need to be seen by a Judge.
If it is determined you need to be seen by a Judge, you will be assigned an attorney. The
Judge will make a determination as to whether or not you are in contempt of court for failing to comply with your child support order.
If you are found in contempt of court, the penalties may include a fine up to $250.00, suspension of licenses, and/or jail time of up to 45 days (90 days for a second offense).
What if I do not know how much I owe in child support?
• You may call (313) 224-5300, visit www.michigan.gov/micase , or appear at the Friend of the Court offices to get a print out of your balance for child support.
So I can just walk in during this time period and have my warrant dismissed outright?
• The dismissal of the bench warrant is only guaranteed if you make a payment of $250.00 or 1%, whichever is greater. If you fail to bring the required amount of money, the case must be reviewed by a Friend of the Court attorney and possibly seen by a Judge.
What if I have other active warrants out for my arrest?
• The Bench Warrant Amnesty Program can ONLY dismiss Wayne County Friend of the Court child support warrants. If you have other warrants, law enforcement may detain you for those.
What if I cannot appear during the times the Bench Warrant Amnesty Program is offered?
• The Amnesty Program is only being offered during the times outlined above. If you do not
appear during the Amnesty Project, you are subject to arrest and possible commitment for
failing to comply with Court orders.
You may visit www.michigan.gov/micase or you call (313) 224-5300 and follow the prompts to speak with a live operator to get additional information about your child support case.