Family Support Division
The Montcalm County Prosecuting Attorney, Family Support Division, receives referrals from the Office of Child Support to establish paternity and support cases.
Many referrals are received because public assistance (i.e. FIP equals cash assistance, FAP equals food assistance, MA-Medicaid, and/or CDC equals child day care assistance) is received and the parents do not reside together. To receive assistance the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) requires the parties to cooperate with child support services unless they have reason to apply for good cause with the MDHHS caseworker. (To apply for public assistance online use the following link: MiBridges.)
Public assistance is not required to receive child support services. To apply for child support services please fill out the online request at the MiCase website.
Types of Cases
- Paternity- "legal" father.
- In Michigan, paternity is established by marriage presumption (child conceived or born within a marriage), Affidavit of Parentage (AOP), or legal determination via court order.
- Support - both parents are liable for support if they are not residing with the minor child.
- Interstate - support or paternity cases are sometimes filed as an interstate case due to the parents residing in different states and the state in which the child resides does not have jurisdiction over the non-custodial parent.
Our office cannot file custody cases, we can only file Paternity and Support cases in which custody and parenting time may be ordered. In some instances custody and parenting time are not address either because there is an existing neglect abuse, guardianship order, or it is an interstate case in which Michigan lacks jurisdiction to address the issues of custody and parenting time.
Once a referral is received our office, after evaluation, will schedule the custodial parent for a telephone appointment. Upon completion of the telephone appointment the Family Support Specialist will schedule an appointment for the party or parties to come in to sign legal paperwork for filing. We require several things to be brought to that appointment such as:
- Pictured identification, i.e. driver's license, state identification card, student ID, etc.
- Child(ren)'s birth certificate
- Child(ren)'s social security cards
- Child(ren)'s health insurance cards
- Affidavit of Parentage (AOP)
- Marriage certificate/license (if married)
- Income information, i.e. paycheck stubs, unemployment compensation statement, Social Security Disability / Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit statement, Veteran's Benefits statement, Income Taxes, etc. (not required if non-parent custodian)
- If non-parent custodian, any guardianship order, placement order, or power of attorney
- Personal Protection Order (PPO), if any
- Completed Questionnaires
- Picture of non-custodial parent (used for service of process)
- Any other pertinent information regarding the case
We normally allow both parents or parties to appear for that appointment, however, we do not notify the non-custodial parent just in case there is a Personal Protection Order or a history of domestic violence between the parties. (If both parties appear it may speed up the process of the case)
If paternity has not been established the alleged father has the right to genetic (DNA) testing. If this needs to be done, both parents may appear to the appointment with the minor child so that genetic test collection can be done the same day of the initial appointment. The only exception is if there is a no-contact or Personal Protection Order (PPO) in which case we would need to schedule the parties separately.
Our office is only required to allow for two appointments. If the custodial parent fails to appear for the second appointment and receives public assistance our office policy is to mark her as non-cooperative in which her benefits will be sanctioned until she does cooperate. If there is no assistance involved we will close out the referral and the custodian will have to reapply for services to get a new referral sent.
During the interview, Jamie VanSyckle, Family Support Specialist will make copies of all items brought, ask questions, and compile the legal Complaint for Support, Paternity or interstate paperwork. The custodial parent or non-parent custodian (sometimes non-custodial parent) can expect to review, date and sign the complaint so it may be filed with the Court.
If the non-custodial parent comes to the interview he / she can expect to be served with the Summons, Complaint and Friend of the Court Handbook. If paternity needs to be established genetic test collection may be completed as well. If genetic testing does not need to be done then a Calculation using the Michigan Child Support Formula will be computed using the information given as well as the parties employment histories.
At this time, the non-custodial parent will have the opportunity to either sign a consent judgment or request that a hearing be scheduled before the assigned Circuit Court Judge.
If the non-custodial parent does not appear for the initial appointment the paperwork will be sent out to a Sheriff Department or Process Server to be personally served on the Defendant. Once served, either an appointment will be scheduled for them to sign a consent judgment / request genetic test collection or a hearing will be scheduled before the assigned Circuit Court Judge.
Genetic Test Collection
If genetic test is requested our office will schedule the genetic test collection. The Family Support Specialist has been trained since 2007 to do the buccal swab genetic testing collection in our office. If one of the parties lives either in another state or in a city far enough away that it would be hard for them to appear in our office, we will request the genetic test laboratory to schedule them in another facility.
- What to expect:
- Parties must bring pictured identification and social security numbers to the collection to ensure that we are collecting the correct parties
- Thumbprints of all parties, including child will be completed
- Pictures of all parties will be taken
- Swabs of mouths of mother, alleged father, and minor child will be collected - sometimes in rare cases we may need to do a motherless test, meaning mother is not available to collect
- Turn around time - our office usually will have the results within one week to ten days after all specimens have been received by the laboratory.
- Results will come back either at 0%, meaning the alleged father is excluded from being father or at 99% or above, meaning the alleged father is the child's biological father.
- Results will be mailed to parties - our office does not tell people the results over the phone as we cannot guarantee one of the parties are on the other end of the line.
- A 14-day objection period is required by Michigan law before any other hearing can be scheduled.
- 99% or above - if no response or objection within 14 days a hearing will be scheduled unless a hearing is already scheduled in that case.
- 0% - if not response or objection within 14 days the case will be dismissed with prejudice.
All hearings before an order is entered will be held in either the Circuit courtroom or Probate courtroom depending on which Judge is assigned to your case.
- What to expect
- Case will be called by case number and parties names
- Prosecutor will recite to the Judge what our office is requesting via child support, ordinary health care, child care (if any), retroactive support, pregnancy / birth expenses, genetic testing fees, birth record fees, etc.
- The parties will be sworn in and asked if they have an objection to the what our office has requested. (This is your time to speak to the Judge)
- The Judge will listen and ask questions of all parties as well as the Prosecuting Attorney and the Family Support Specialist before making his / her decision.
- If genetic test is ordered in a paternity case the parties may go to the Prosecuting Attorney office immediately after for collection and in some cases they may need to schedule a date for their collection. (Please refer to Genetic test collection section)
- If a Judgment of Support and/or Filiation is entered all parties will receive certified copies of the orders in the mail at their last known mailing address.
After the Judgment of Support / Filiation
After the Judgment of Support and/or Filiation is entered the case will then be handled by:
Montcalm County Friend of the Court
629 N State Street
P.O. Box 305
Stanton, MI 48888
The Circuit Court Clerk's office handles enforcement of the birth record fee:
Circuit Court Clerk
639 N State Street
Stanton, MI 48888
If you have any questions regarding our process that is not addressed please feel free to contact Family Support Specialist, Jamie VanSyckle at 989-831-7366, or by email.