Mich. court creates defense in child support cases - WNEM TV 5

Mich. court creates defense in child support cases

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - For the first time, the Michigan Supreme Court says people charged with a crime for failing to pay child support can defend themselves by showing it was impossible for them to come up with money.

In a 4-3 decision Tuesday, with Republicans in the majority, the court gave guidance on how it should work, but it's not easy. The justices say there must be a good-faith effort as well as proof that a defendant couldn't pay support through no fault of his or her own.

The court says all avenues must be explored, such as the sale of assets, refinancing a home or lawful attempts to get cash.

But Democratic justices call the new standard a "nearly insurmountable barrier" for poor people who simply are unable to pay child support.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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