Child Support Services
Children need the support of their families to thrive and be healthy and successful. They have the right to count on their parents for the emotional, spiritual, medical and financial support they deserve. Parents have the moral and legal obligation to ensure the health, welfare and safety of their children is first priority. The children are our future! The OCSS provides paternity establishment and child support services to families where the child, mother and/or father are enrolled members of the KBIC or other federally recognized Tribe when at least one of the parties reside on the L'Anse Reservation. The OCSS also processes income withholding orders for all Tribal employees.
Application for Services can be found here.
The Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) is committed to improving the lives of children.
We strive to strengthen family responsibilities and values through quality service and cultural integrity.
We work to ensure that paternity is established when appropriate; financial disputes between separated parents are minimized; and parents are held accountable to support their children in accordance with their resources and abilities.
We are committed to maintaining an effective program that will meet the needs of families; improve the welfare of children; and strengthen tribal sovereignty.
Our goals are founded in our commitment to families while complying with Tribal Codes and Federal Regulations to:
- Establish Paternity
- Establish, Monitor, Modify and Enforce Child Support Orders;
- Locate Custodial and Non-Custodial Parents
- Provide Quality Customer Service; and
- Provide Customer and Community Education
One important function of the OCSS is enforcing child support orders.
Child support orders can be enforced in many ways. The easiest and most efficient method of collecting child support is through Income Withholding.
What is Income Withholding?
The Court orders income withholding when a child support order is established. The OCSS then sends a notice to the non-custodial party's employer. The notice contains information telling the employer how much money to withhold from the non-custodial party's pay and how often to withhold it. The employer sends the money directly to the OCSS. The OCSS credits the non-custodial party's account and issues a check to the custodial party.
Benefits of income withholding are:
- Families receive their child support payments regularly;
- Regular payments prevent arrears from accruing;
- Convenience for the non-custodial party as they no longer have to send in a money order or go to the child support office to make a payment.
Where can payments be made if Income Withholding is not being done?
Some non-custodial parties choose to make child support payments themselves. Payments can be made in person at the Office of Child Support Services located at 427 N. Superior Avenue, Baraga, MI.
If you are mailing a payment, please send a money order or cashiers check to:
Office of Child Support Services
P.O. Box 490
Baraga, MI 49908-9210
Please do not send cash in the mail!
No personal checks please.
What happens when the non-custodial party fails to make a child support payment?
When a non-custodial party fails to meet his or her obligations as ordered by the court, other enforcement measures are taken. Enforcement may include:
- Interception of state and/or federal tax refunds;
- Suspension of driver's licenses, professional licenses, and/or state hunting and fishing licenses;
- Passport denial;
- Liens on property;
- Freezing and/or seizing bank accounts;
If you are a custodial party (the person who receives child support payments) and you are not receiving your child support payments, contact our office as soon as possible.
If you are a non-custodial party (the person who pays child support) and you are unable to make your payments as ordered, contact the OCSS immediately. We will work with you to help you find a way to meet your obligations.
Every child needs emotion, spiritual and financial support from both parents. Even when parents do not live together they still need to work together to ensure the health, safety and well-being of their children.
What is child support?
Child support is money that an absent parent pays to the custodial party (person the child lives with) to help meet the needs of the child. The amount and schedule of the payments are usually established through the Court.
An order for child support may be a part of a temporary, permanent or modified court order in a:
- Paternity Action
- Child Custody Action
- Family support Action
- Inter-Jurisdictional Action
- Other special type of order
Who can receive child support?
You may be eligible for services if you are the parent of a minor child, or have physical custody of a minor child and:
- The child live in your home;
- Is financially dependant on you;
- One or both parents are absent from the home
What does a child support order include?
An order for child support may include provisions for:
- A monetary amount to be paid to the family for the support of the child;
- One or both parents to provide medical, dental and vision health care coverage;
- Assistance with child care expenses;
- Assistance with educational expenses;
- Non-cash support;
- Other provisions to meet the specific needs of the child.
A child support order can be established in two ways:
- Stipulation and Order for Support
- Court Order
The OCSS provides child support establishment services when the child, mother and/or father are members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community or other federally recognized Tribe when at least one of the parties lives on the L'Anse Reservation.
If circumstances have changed that you believe could affect your child support order, you can contact the OCSS and request a review of your case for a possible modification.
You will be given a form and instructed to complete it and return it along with current financial documents or other documents that would support your claim.
Your case worker will conduct a review to determine if the change is substantial enough to warrant a modification.
A substantial change means a change in your circumstances that would affect your child support order by 10%, higher or lower.
Modifications allow orders to stay up-to-date with changes in circumstances by:
- Increasing or decreasing the amount of child support being paid based on changes in either parents' income;
- Preventing high arrears from accruing in situations where the original order is based on out-dated financial information;
- Re-directing child support payments when the custody of a child changes.
If you want your order reviewed, you must submit a Request for Review in writing to the OCSS. Please be aware that if a modification of your order is required, it might increase or decrease the amount of support you receive or pay.
Paternity establishment means the legal process to determine the parentage of a child born out of wedlock.
Your child has a right to a sense of belonging that comes from knowing who both parents are. This includes having the father's name on the birth certificate and establishing a tie to the Tribal community.
Both parents are morally responsible to emotionally and spiritually support their child while being legally obligated to financially support them.
Children who have the support of both parents do better as they journey through life. Your child has a right to know their complete medical history from both parents and they have a right to the various benefits that might be available through one or the other parent, including:
- Tribal Identity and Enrollment
- Tribal Benefits
- Social Security Benefits
- Inheritance Rights
- Veteran's Benefits
Paternity can be established in two ways:
- Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity
- Court Order
The OCSS provides paternity establishment services including genetic testing at a substantially reduced cost.