7-Eleven, Family Dollar now take child support payments

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Making a child support payment in Michigan is now as easy as trekking over to your nearby 7-Eleven or Family Dollar store.

Circuit Courts across the state that oversee Friend of the Court programs are taking part in an initiative called PayNearMe, which will allow parents to make child support payments at 7-Eleven or Family Dollar stores.

The new payment program, which was launched this week, is good news for officials at the Third Judicial Circuit Court in Wayne County.

“We’ve been trying to find ways for people to make it easier to make their payments,” said Kent Weichmann, deputy court administrator for the domestic division of the Third Judicial Circuit Court.

Weichmann said it’s often hard for people to make the payments at the Friend of the Court office in downtown Detroit.

“There’s parking, there’s traffic and there’s (the challenge) of getting into the building,” Weichmann said Thursday. “It’s far more convenient if they can make it at 7-Eleven or Family Dollar.”

The payments can be made any time during the stores’ business hours. In the case of 7-Eleven, that’s 24 hours a day. The payments are routed through the Michigan State Disbursement Unit, or MiSDU.

In Oakland County, Suzanne Hollyer, director of the Friend of the Court division of the Oakland County Circuit Court, says “anything to make it easier for people to pay is a good thing.”

Oakland County’s Friend of the Court has 54,000 child support cases, says Hollyer.

Macomb County’s Friend of the Court system has 46,000 such cases and officials are glad to see another avenue available for parents to make the payments.

“We’re happy to participate and give customers a chance to pay cash for their cases,” said Thomas Blohm, director of the Macomb County Friend of the Court program.

There is a $1.99 convenience fee to make a payment, which can take up to three days to post to an account. Court officials warn that the payments cannot be specifically applied to a designated account if there is more than one Friend of the Court account.

Chief Wayne County Judge Robert Colombo Jr. said his court has other outreach programs to help parents who must pay child support to stay current with their payments. Those who don’t stay current run the risk of being criminally charged with a felony if they fall far behind.

For more information, log on to www.misdu.com.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

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