Child Support and Imputed Income Basics in Michigan
When most people decide to bring children into the world, they do so with the full intention of supporting them in every way imaginable – physically, emotionally, and financially. However, as parents divide the household and take on new financial obligations during divorce proceedings, they may not feel like they have the financial capability to provide for their kids, or they might not feel obligated to pay if they have little or no parenting time following child custody proceedings.
Fortunately, the state of Michigan takes the approach that both parents have financial responsibilities where children are concerned, and these include child support or imputed income. What are these and how do courts decide the amount of financial support children deserve? Here are a few basics you should know.
As you probably know, child support pertains to the financial assistance one parent provides the other to help cover the costs of raising kids. Deciding which parent will pay child support depends mainly on the income of each parent, as well as the amount of time children spend with each parent per the custody arrangement. For example, if one parent earns significantly more and has less time with children, it’s pretty cut and dry. All that remains is to determine the amount of payments.
In the state of Michigan, the Michigan Child Support Formula is used to calculate the amount of child support to be paid. The number is reached by taking into consideration parental incomes, the number of children, the number of overnights (nights kids spend with each parent), child care costs, health care costs, and more. There isn’t much wiggle room here.
Even if parents reach an agreement on their own for child support, the court may elect to use the amount determined by the formula, and unless the court deems that the formulated child support is in some way unfair or inappropriate, the number calculated must be used when determining the amount of child support.
You may be less familiar with this term, which pertains not to what the paying parent actually earns, but what he/she should be earning. If a parent is unwilling or unable to pay court ordered child support due to job loss or related circumstances, the court may elect to impute income.
Certain circumstances allow for a temporary reduction in child support payments. If, for example, the paying parent loses a job due to layoff or other circumstances beyond his/her control, the court may agree to reduce child support payments. However, there are also cases in which such circumstances may be deemed to be in the power of the paying parent.
If a paying parent is underemployed due to leaving a high-paying job in favor of one that pays less, he/she may still have to pay child support calculated based on higher pay. Or if a parent voluntarily quits a job or finds a way to get fired (say, by breaking known rules), the court may choose not to reduce child support payments.
Collecting child support is essential for parents trying to raise children and meet financial obligations. Contact the qualified attorneys at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 for legal advice and assistance pertaining to child support.
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