Macomb Co. targeting 3,500 who owe child support
Mount Clemens — Macomb County authorities began Monday targeting 3,500 individuals with bench warrants for outstanding child support payments.
The sweep, announced last week, prompted 16 individuals to go to the Friend of the Court office to discuss their warrants, said Thomas Blohm, director of Macomb County Friend of the Court, the enforcement and investigative wing of the Macomb County Circuit Court.
The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment on the number of arrests made.
The push is a collaborative effort between Macomb County Friend of the Court and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.
“The goal is not to arrest 3,500 people,” Blohm said. “Arrests are traumatic and can separate people even more so.”
The sweep will not include bench warrants for unpaid spousal support.
As for people who simply do not have the money to make their payments, “those are the people we want to talk to,” Blohm said.
“Any individuals who voluntarily appear will be given the opportunity to have their circumstances reviewed to determine if they qualify for a special program that can help substantially reduce state-owed arrearages,” according to a news release. The Macomb County Friend of the Court Office is located at 40 N. Main St.
Child support arrearages are a $6.9 billion problem in Michigan, according to the most recent figures available from the Child Support Division of the Attorney General’s office.
While Macomb’s Friend of the Court has four sheriff’s deputies who work specifically on serving bench warrants — two in the morning and two in the afternoon — the enforcement sweep will bring that number to more than 10. Some sheriff’s deputies will be equipped to put boots on the cars of those with warrants.
The public is being encouraged to provide tips on people with outstanding warrants by calling the Friend of the Court office at (586) 469-5756 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Detroit News Staff Writer Candice Williams contributed