How Is Child Support Determined in Michigan?
The courts use a specific formula to determine the amount of child support a parent must pay. Typically, the court will require the parent who doesn’t live with the kids to provide financial support. The parent residing with the children can use the money to pay for necessary expenses, such as housing, healthcare, education, food, and clothing.
Factors Involved in the Child Support Formula
The Michigan Child Support Formula considers various factors when calculating child support payments, such as:
- The income of each parent
- Healthcare expenses
- Number of children in need of financial support
- Parenting time
- The estimated cost of childcare
- Additional factors
If the court determines applying the formula would be unjust or inappropriate, it must enter an order that includes information, such as:
- The amount of child support based on the formula
- How the order for child support deviates from the formula
- The value of the awarded property and other support instead of the child support payment
- The reasons why applying the formula would be inappropriate or unjust in the case
Types of Income Used in the Formula
The child support formula considers various types of income to calculate the payment amount. The most common types of income include:
- Income from a partnership or business
- Disability benefits
- Capital gains from recurring transactions
- Wages, bonuses, overtime pay, and commissions
- Social Security benefits
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- The market value of various free perks the parent receives, such as meals, housing, or using a company vehicle
- Rental income
- Unemployment benefits
- Veterans’ administration benefits
Duration of Child Support Payments
The parent paying child support must provide payments until the child turns 18 years old. However, the court can extend a child support order if the child:
- Lives with the parent receiving child support payments full-time or at an institution
- Attends high school full-time
- Has expectations of graduating
Child support can continue until the child turns 19 ½ years old if they meet all three conditions.
Enforcing a Child Support Order
The court can use various methods to ensure the parent ordered to pay child support provides the necessary payments to the other parent. These enforcement methods might include:
- Contempt proceedings
- Withholding income
- Placing a lien on personal or real property
- Garnishing federal or state tax refunds
How to Modify a Child Support Order
The paying or receiving spouse can petition the court for a modified child support order. However, the court will only consider making the requested modifications within 36 months of the original order if there is a substantial change of circumstances, such as:
- Temporary or permanent changes to the parenting time or custody arrangement
- Inability to earn a living due to an illness or injury
- Having children with a new partner
- Loss or change in employment
- Incarceration or release from incarceration
- Application for public assistance, unemployment compensation, or workers’ compensation benefits
- Increased or decreased needs of the child
- Promotion at work
The court might also modify a child support order if the original order contains an error.
Additionally, the state agency will review the order every 36 months to determine whether the payments meet the child’s needs. However, the agency does not have the authority to make changes. It must file a motion with the court.
Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC has represented clients in child support cases since 1951. When you’re going through a divorce and negotiating the terms of your divorce, custody, and visitation agreements, having an experienced legal team in your corner is crucial. You need a dedicated and aggressive child support lawyer in Macomb County, MI, to protect your interests and guide you through the complicated process.
If you want to create or modify a child support order, call (586) 776-1700 or contact us online for a confidential consultation today.