How to determine whether your child support payments are fair
With all the intricate processes and grey areas, it can be hard to be certain of anything when it comes to divorce. One of greatest areas of contention, and thus areas of confusion, is that of children. Custody is one thing, but there will obviously be a financial component when supporting your children. How do you determine child support, and whether your child support payments are fair?
What is Child Support?
Child support is court-ordered payments to support the children of divorcing parents. The payments are typically made by the parent without full custody (payer), to the parent with full custody (payee), to ensure the child is able to maintain a seamless standard of living.
In Michigan, both parents are responsible for supporting their child (or children) until they reach the age of 18, or longer if there is an additional agreement.
How is Child Support Calculated?
In Michigan, child support is calculated by a model known as the income shares formula or the Michigan Child Support Formula. This method considers and assigns both parents a percentage of total cost based on their income.
Typically, the amount of child support depends on the parents’ income(s), the number of nights per year the child spends with each parent (overnights), and the number of children requiring support.
What Factors into Child Support?
The Michigan Child Support Formula takes the following factors into consideration when determining child support:
- The incomes and assets of the parents
- The number of “overnights” the child spends with each parent
- The number of shared children needing support
- Health care costs
- Additional childcare costs
Are My Child Support Payments Fair?
If the divorcing parents reach a support plan or agreement outside of the courts, the judge will take that into consideration when determining payments. Agreements that do not use the aforementioned formula regarding child support require an additional form called the Uniform Child Support Order Deviation Addendum.
When ruling on support payments, the court must apply the Michigan Child Support Formula, unless the results are unfair. If you feel your support payments are inappropriate or unfair, a parent can have a friend of the court review the child support ruling. Further, either parent can file a motion to change child support.
How Do I Change Child Support Payments?
Any party interested in influencing the outcome of a divorce but not actually a member of the proceedings can present a statement to the court as a “Friend of the Court.” They can review child support orders as often as every 36 months, assuming there is a need. Need would include a change in employment or custody arrangement.
Additionally, if either parent experiences a major life change, they can ask the court for a change in their child support situation.
If you feel your child support payments are unfair, or simply have questions about the formula used to calculate what you pay, it is best to consult a lawyer to gain peace of mind. Contact the professionals at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 to learn more
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