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Practice Area

Child Support

How is child support determined in Michigan?

In Michigan child support is defined as a court-ordered payment of money from one parent of a child to another. Children in Michigan have an inherit right to the support of their natural or adoptive parents. Payment of child support in Michigan may include health care, child care and expenses for education.

In Michigan a court must order support in the amount determined by the child support formula unless the court finds that application of the formula would be unjust or inappropriate with specific facts on the record to support the deviation. The Michigan child support formula considers the needs of the child and the resources of the family in Michigan and assigns the child a share of those resources in the form of child support. The formula will consider the parents income, the allotment of custody/parenting time of each parent and the number of children to be supported. The formula for Michigan child support will also consider the division of health care costs and child care expenses. The Michigan family court can consider an agreement between the parties about child support, but the court does not need to follow the agreement.

Can a mother and father agree to no child support in Michigan?

No, in Michigan parents may not bargain away, limit child support or restrict modifications because a child is entitled to adequate child support in Michigan and to do so would usurp the court's authority. Any agreement to put a limit on Michigan child support will be unenforceable in Michigan. This is different than the parties right to limit or agree to no spousal support.

Can child support be modified in Michigan?

Yes, a change to either parents income or the amount of parenting time can justify a change in child support in Michigan. But when a party voluntarily reduces or eliminates income and the court determines that a party has the ability to earn an income and pay child support, the court does not need to lower the child support amount for a Michigan child support case. This is called potential income, and this could be a major issue for a parent who was once earning a high salary, and now has a reduced or no salary.

A Michigan judge will determine the potential income of the parent by looking at that parents education, experience and availability of opportunities in the job market.

When determining the modified amount of Michigan child support in Michigan the court will apply the Michigan child support formula, but can deviate from the formula if it finds that the application of the formula would be unjust or inappropriate, and it is backed up by specific findings.

Does child support end when my child reaches 18 in Michigan?

Not necessarily. A Michigan court may order what is called post-majority support for a child between the ages of 18 and 19 1/2 if the child is still attending high school full-time, has a reasonable expectation of graduating from high school and is living full-time with the person receiving the child support. The support order in Michigan will terminate on the last day of a specific month rather than the exact graduation date. Although the court cannot order support after 19 1/2, the parties are free to agree to an extended period of child support in Michigan.

What if my spouse is hiding income, what can I do to get the right amount of child support in Michigan?

This is referred to as hidden income, and can be common if a spouse is involved in a cash business, or simply tries to hide income in other matters. There are a few alternative methods for identifying a spouse's additional income by looking at bank deposits, expenditures and financial statements that may have been used to gain a credit line or a loan. If you think your spouse is hiding income, you should contact a Michigan family attorney who can assist you in your child support case.

Can I lose my driver's license for not paying child support in Michigan?

Yes, the State of Michigan can suspend the driver's license of a parent who fails to pay child support in Michigan. This also includes occupational licenses such as law, real estate, police officers, day care, building contractors, medical licenses, and recreational and sporting licenses such as hunting and fishing.

Is it possible to get a temporary order for child support during an Oakland County divorce?

Yes, in Michigan either party, the court or the Michigan Friend of the Court may move for a temporary order of child support during the proceedings of a Michigan divorce, annulment or separate maintenance case. A temporary order cannot be granted in Michigan unless a hearing is held or both parties agree to the order. This order can be modified, and remains in effect until a final judgment is in place.

Do both parents have to pay for a child's health care costs in Michigan?

Yes, in Michigan both parents are responsible for the health care costs of a child. This includes ordinary medical care provided by health care professionals, extraordinary medical expenses, which are costs over the ordinary expenses along with general health care insurance coverage. A Michigan judge will order one or both parents to maintain health care coverage for the children if it is available as a benefit of employment or at a reasonable cost. If the parents do not have health insurance, they must share in the cost of any medical expenses not covered by insurance.

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