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Michigan Supreme Court clarifies impact of virus-related measures on your court orders

The novel coronavirus has upended life across Michigan, the nation and around the globe. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a statewide stay-at-home order to try to slow the spread of the virus.

The Michigan Supreme Court has also weighed in on coronavirus-related limitations on courtroom operations. The court issued a statement to clarify matters for parents who live apart and "might be confused about changing family situations and their court orders."

The Supreme Court reminds everyone that "all court orders for a child's custody, parenting time and support are still in force." Only a new court order can change custody, support, etc., meaning that parents should keep following current court orders.

The court also says that if your child's safety is a concern, you should work with the other parent "to keep the child's access to both parents as close to the normal arrangement as possible." The court also urges parents to reassure your child about your love and the protection he or she will always have from both parents.

The Supreme Court adds that if events make it necessary for you to "share parental responsibilities in ways different than the court order provides, parents should cooperate with each other to further the child's best interests." If you and the other parent are unable to agree between yourselves on how to alter responsibilities, your court order is to be followed.

Child support payments are expected to continue, though there may be delays on automatic payment withholding in cases of job changes or new court orders. A parent has support obligations and money is automatically withheld from paychecks, they should make payments via the State Disbursement Unit or by using the PayNearMe at a CVS Pharmacy, Family Dollar, 7-Eleven or Casey's General Store.

Please stay safe and well, and contact our Ann Arbor office if we can help you with a family law matter.

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