In Michigan, either parent may be ordered to provide child support. Courts will usually impose child support obligations against one parent according to a document entitled the Michigan Child Support Formula, which is commonly referred to as the child support “guidelines.” These guidelines are based on estimated costs to raise children in Michigan, together with consideration for the parents’ income and their number of children. According to the guidelines, expenses for raising a child include food, clothing, the child’s extra-curricular activities and entertainment, as well as household expenses such as a mortgage or rent, utilities and insurance.
There are a wide range of issues surrounding what constitutes income and earning capacity—issues that dramatically impact the amount of child support ultimately received or paid. These issues include:
- All income and resources of both parents after deductions are made for taxes and Social Security
- The potential earnings, borrowing capacity and necessities of each parent
- The amount of public assistance available to the child.
- Whether one or both parents have other dependents
- Avoiding extreme or unfair changes to either parent’s income
- Medical insurance. If one parent has medical insurance provided by an employer, he or she may have to add the child to his or her coverage
Even though child support payments in Michigan are determined by the child support guidelines, the factors surrounding income are quite complex and open to a variety of interpretations. At Matecun, Thomas & Olson, PLC, we will use our experience and understanding of the law to help ensure you receive all of the child support you need, or that don’t pay too much if you are the person responsible for providing support. We can also help modify your child support if your financial situation, or that of your ex-spouse, changes dramatically. Contact our Livingston County Office or our Macomb County Office today to discuss your particular situation.