August is now Child Support Month in Michigan, thanks to the declaration by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Why give official month-long recognition to something that happens every day? It’s because there are a lot of people involved in making the state’s child support system work.

It takes a coordinated effort of state departments, county departments, employers and child support workers to make sure that the approximately $1.2 billion in child support paid each year gets to the appropriate people. Even local community agencies and hospitals sometimes get involved.

At times, the child support program in Michigan can help establish paternity (when it is in question or the parents are unmarried) or track down absent parents. Multiple agencies are routinely involved in many of the steps necessary to enforce court-ordered support.

Collecting child support isn’t always an easy task. According to the state, in 2018, only 4% of support was paid in the month it was due. The majority of support payments are late.

In large part, employers are responsible for enforcing court orders of support. They withheld around $1.06 billion last year from employee paychecks to meet child support obligations. Also, the Michigan State Disbursement Unit — which oversees the centralized process of child support payments — distributed around $122 million each month to the children due to receive it.

Child support is one of the most important mainstays when it comes to keeping the lives of children stable after a divorce. It’s an obligation on the part of every parent to contribute to their child’s upbringing. If you are having trouble establishing a support order or collecting support you are owed, you may have better results working with an attorney.