Child Support Services

Brian L. Mackie, Prosecuting Attorney
(734) 222-6630 
prosecutormackie@ewashtenaw.org

For directions to our office, parking, and the downtown courthouse, click here for an interactive google map.

Establishes paternity and child support obligations by court order.

We serve residents of Washtenaw County by establishing paternity and/or obtaining child support.

Services are available for families receiving public assistance or to families who do not receive assistance, but apply for our services through the Department of Human Services, DHS (formally FIA). 

The Prosecutor's Office represents county residents in over 90% of the paternity cases filed here each year. We also file cases for child support alone when legal parents are separated.

We establish child support obligations totaling approximately 2 million dollars each year for hundreds of  families.

Office Hours are 8:00-12:00 and 1:00 to 5:00, we are closed for the lunch hour.

Overview of Services and FAQs

This page includes an overview of our services and information about how to file a case through our office.

How can I start a case?
How do I contact DHSto begin?
What happens at my appointment?
How is the absent parent notified of the case?
What if the absent parent does not cooperate?
What is a paternity case?
What about paternity blood testing?
About DNA testing in private cases
What is a child support case?
How is the amount of child support determined?
What if a husband is not the biological father of a child?
What will the court order include?
What if the absent parent lives outside of Michigan?
How is child support collected?
Custody and visitation issues
PA approval of judgments of divorce
Related links

How can I start a case?

You must first contact the Michigan Department of Human Services to request or apply for services provided by our office. A Child Support Specialist will assist you with the application. If necessary, they will attempt to locate an absent parent for you. Your case will then be referred to the Prosecutors Office and an appointment will be scheduled for you.

How do I contact DHS to begin?

You must contact a Child Support Specialist at DHS to begin the referral procedure.  1-866-540-0008

What happens at my appointment?

You will be notified of an appointment at the Prosecutors Office. You must bring all necessary documents such as your childs birth certificate, a copy of a prior acknowledgment of paternity, your marriage certificate, government issued I.D., or a prior judgment of divorce. A questionnaire mailed with your appointment notice must also be completed.

You will meet with an Assistant Prosecutor or legal assistant for an interview. A complaint for a paternity, child support or interstate case will be prepared for your review and signature. Your case will then be filed.

How is the absent parent notified?

Once the case is filed, we will schedule an appointment with the absent parent. The issues will be explained. A final Order, resolving the case by consent, may be signed at that time.

If the absent parent lives far away or out of state, we will send them notice of the case by certified mail. They may then contact us by telephone or mail. At times, it is necessary to arrange for papers to be served by an outside agency if the other party does not respond.

What if the absent parent does not cooperate?

Once the papers are served, the other party has 21 or 28 days to respond. If they fail to respond, we will set the case for Court and ask the Judge to enter an Order establishing paternity and/or child support. You will receive a copy of that Order. Payments will then be collected and obligations enforced by the Friend of the Court.

What is a paternity case?

We will file a paternity case if you have a child who was conceived and born when you were not married and paternity has not been established. Paternity may be voluntarily acknowledged when both parties sign a legal document witnessed by a notary public. The form is then filed with the Michigan Department of Community Health. Otherwise, paternity may be established by DNA testing and/or a court Order.

What About DNA testing?

DNA testing may be arranged in a paternity case filed by our office. The laboratory comes to our county about once a month for the testing. All parties are notified of the date and time of their appointment approximately 2 weeks in advance. Payment must be made at the time of the appointment.

The results are sent to our office in about 4 weeks. Copies are sent to the parties immediately and provided to the Court. The DNA testing will either determine that there is no possibility of paternity or that the probability of paternity is at least 99%. If the results show that the alleged father is not the biological father, the case is dismissed. If the results are positive, another appointment is set in our office to resolve the case. Repayment of the processing fee is included in the final order.

If a party is ordered to appear for DNA testing and does not, the Court may enter an Order, which establishes legal paternity and includes a specific child support obligation.

About DNA testing in private cases:

If a private attorney files a paternity case and wants to arrange DNA testing in our area, arrangements can be made directly with Orchid Gene Screen, of Okemos, Michigan. Their toll free number for private cases is 800-DNA-TEST.

What is a child support case?

We will file a case for child support if a child was born during the marriage of the parties or paternity was legally acknowledged. If the parties are married, no divorce action may be pending at the time of filing.

How is the amount of child support determined?

Child support is determined in accordance with the Michigan Child Support Guidelines. Calculations are based on the net weekly income of both parties and consider factors such as other children in the home or for whom child support has been previously ordered. A contribution toward childcare costs may also be ordered in addition to child support.

What if a husband is not the biological father of a child?

If a mother is married when a child is conceived or born, her husband is presumed to be the legal father unless a court order finds otherwise. This is true even if a child is born within 10 months of a divorce.

If the husband is not the biological father of the child, a court Order must be obtained which specifically identifies the child and finds that he is not the legal father.

What will the court order include?

The final court order will include a child support obligation, to be paid by income withholding, a child care contribution, responsibility for medical insurance or uninsured medical expenses, the responsibility to report certain changes in circumstances or coverage to the Friend of the Court, reimbursement for pregnancy and/or childbirth expenses and, if the parties agree, visitation/parenting time and legal custody.

What if the absent parent lives outside of Michigan?

We can file a case for paternity and/or child support even if the absent parent lives in another state. In some cases, when that party is a former Michigan resident or other factors exist, we may still be able to file a case in our county.

If there are not sufficient ties to the state of Michigan, an action is filed under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). The papers are prepared in our office, filed with our court and forwarded to the state where the absent parent resides. The final court Order must be obtained in the other state.

Although we file these cases immediately, we must depend on the other state to file and process our case when it is received. We cannot control the time it takes another state to obtain an Order. We will monitor the other states efforts on a regular basis and contact you if additional information is required.

How is child support collected?

Child support is withheld from the absent parents paycheck. If self-employed or unemployed, payment must be made personally. The Washtenaw County Friend of the Court collects and enforces child support obligations once your court Order is obtained. For further information, you may contact them at (734) 222-3050.

Custody and visitation issues:

If the parties do not agree on the issues of custody or visitation, the Prosecutors Office will not represent you in resolving the dispute. You will need to seek a private attorney at that time. You may contact the Washtenaw County Lawyer Referral Service for further information regarding private representation (996-3229).

PA approval of judgements of divorces

Judgments involving minor children, conceived or born during the marriage, must be approved by the Prosecutors Office. Paternity disputes must be specifically addressed. Child support for all children must be included and any arrearages owed to the state of Michigan must be preserved, among other considerations. You may send any inquiries to prosecutormackie@ewashtenaw.org

Related Links:

2004 Michigan Child Support Formula manual


National state by state guide to child support

Michigan Department of Human Services

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