Domestic Diversions

Separating parenting and paying: In re Beck

The Michigan Supreme Court released its decision in Department of Human Servs v Beck (In re Beck), Case No 140842 (12/20/10). The Court determined that a parent whose rights were terminated continues to have a child support until a court modifies or terminates the obligation.

Justice Young writes (excerpt):
Because the Legislature has made a clear distinction between parental rights and the parental obligation to support a minor child, and nothing in the statutory structure indicates that the termination of parental rights automatically results in the severance of the parental support duty, we hold that the support duty continues unless the duty is modified or terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. Given that the trial court declined to modify or terminate respondent’s obligation, and respondent has made no showing that this decision was an abuse of discretion, respondent’s obligation remains intact.

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