ST. JOSEPH - It's not a get out of jail free card.But parents who owe child support and are wanted on civil bench warrants in Berrien County will soon have a chance to avoid arrest and make a clean start.A one-day amnesty program June 26 will allow parents who are delinquent in support payments and sought on civil warrants to talk to the Friend of the Court staff without fear of arrest.Parents who show up for the event at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph can freely discuss case status, their employment situation and related matters.
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"This is an amnesty day. This is a freebee. Come on in," said FOC Director Thomas Watson.The FOC has lined up community organizations to help parents find work or get job training and other services. They include Michigan Works!, the Opportunity Center and the STRIVE program.Parents whose income has dropped because of job loss, work hour reduction or other factors can get help about petitioning the court to reduce or otherwise change child support orders.Those who attend the amnesty event will be asked to pay something toward their arrearage and work out a payment plan. For those who work out arrangements, bench warrants will not be enforced for 90 days and progress will be monitored by the FOC staff."It gives them that time frame where they don't have us looking down on them," said Mike Slater, FOC chief enforcement officer. read more
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