The focus of the Muskegon County Family Court's Establishment Division is to ensure that every child is supported by both of his or her parents. Our goal is to promote co-parenting, assist family in obtaining financial independence, seek and obtain child support orders, and obtain repayment of Medicaid disbursements.
Any person who is a parent or a guardian of a child is eligible to receive free assistance from the state's child support program regardless of income. Families who receive public assistance benefits (Food, Medicaid, Cash, or Child Development Care) and the parents do not live together are required to participate in the child support program in order to continue to receive state benefits. Participation includes providing all information that is requested by any staff member of the child support program, including Muskegon County Family Court Staff, and appearing for required meetings and hearings.
The Muskegon County Family Court's Establishment Division also establishes paternity for children where paternity has not previously been established. In the State of Michigan, paternity is established by:
- A Court Order
- An Affidavit of Parentage signed and filed with the Michigan Department of Vital Records
- Child conceived or born during a marriage (the husband is the legal father)
- Determination of Paternity under the laws of another state or country
The Establishment Division will use DNA testing to establish paternity in cases where paternity has not already been established.
While the Muskegon County Family Court's Establishment Division establishes paternity and child support orders, it is the job of the Friend of the Court to enforce all child support orders in Muskegon County.