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How Are Child Support Decisions Made in a Michigan Divorce?

 Posted on October 10, 2019 in Divorce

Oakland County child support attorney

Studies show that children thrive when they have a relationship with both of their parents. In addition to emotional support, kids deserve to receive financial support from both of their parents, including when parents are divorced or unmarried. If you are a parent in Michigan who is considering divorce, you may be wondering how child support determinations will be made. Which parent pays child support? How much will my monthly child support payment be? When does child support end? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and find out how you can get help with child support questions or disputes in Michigan.

Understanding Michigan Child Support 

The Michigan Child Support Formula is used to determine which parent will pay child support and the amount of support payments. The factors considered in child support calculations include:

  • The number of children needing support

  • Each parent’s income, including wages, overtime, bonuses, tips, investment earnings, social security earnings, disability benefits, and other sources of revenue

  • Deductions from each parent’s usable income, such as life insurance premiums

  • Support obligations related to a second family

  • Each parent’s tax filing status

  • Childcare costs

  • The number of overnights the child spends with each parent

  • The amount of money each parent contributes to healthcare coverage for the child

After the amount of child support is calculated, the court will enter a Uniform Child Support Order. In certain circumstances, the court may deviate from the guidelines set forth by the Michigan Child Support Formula. Michigan law states that the court can only deviate from these guidelines if using the child support formula would be “unjust or inappropriate.” There are a number of situations that may warrant a deviation including:

  • The child has extraordinary medical or educational expenses.

  • The court awards property for the benefit of the child instead of monetary support.

  • A parent is a minor.

  • A parent is incarcerated.

  • A parent’s income is significantly reduced due to high levels of jointly accumulated debt.

Child support payments typically continue until the child turns 18 years old. However, if the child is still in school, support payments may be required until the child is 19.5 years old.

Enforcing or Modifying a Child Support Order

Child support payments are not optional. If a parent does not pay his or her court-ordered child support, he or she can face consequences, including contempt proceedings, property liens, wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, and more. If a “substantial change in circumstances” necessitates it, parents may petition the court for a child support modification. Examples of a change in circumstances include job loss, a major adjustment in child custody or parenting time arrangements, a considerable increase or decrease in either parent’s income, and more.  

Contact a Novi, MI Divorce Attorney 

Child support determinations in Michigan are based on the financial circumstances of the parents, the needs of the child, and other relevant factors. If you need help establishing, modifying, or enforcing a child support order, contact the experienced law firm of Elkouri Heath PLC. Our knowledgeable and compassionate Farmington Hills child support lawyers will address all of your concerns and make sure your rights are protected throughout the proceedings. Call our office today at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. 


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