How to modify your Michigan child support payments
At its very best, divorce is an agreeable split between a couple who go on to start new chapters in their lives. Unfortunately, it is rarely this easy or straightforward, and in fact an unraveling marriage involves property division, parental right, spousal support, and child support. The entire process is almost always very complex and entails a great deal of emotional duress, made even more daunting when children are part of the equation.
What is child support?
In its simplest definition, child support is payment ordered by the court to assist with the financial cost of raising a child. A judge will enter an order to begin child support on a specific date and this support continues until the child reaches 18 years of age. The amount of support is based on traditional financial needs within the region of residence and parental income. After an order is issued it generally remains as such for its duration; however, these orders can be modified in Michigan by filing a motion of change.
Timing to file a modification of support
In family law cases without a child support order, a request can be presented to a judge to start the support. With orders already in place, either parent is allowed to file a Motion Regarding Support requesting a change in the amount of support. The parent requesting the change must always show a viable reason such as:
- The other parent receives a pay raise or new, higher-paying job, or loses a job
- The other parent is able to and starts to provide health care coverage for the child
- The child’s needs increase or child care expenses increase
- There is a change in custody arrangement
Keep in mind that past due support payments cannot be changed after payment is due. With any changes in custody, a parent must file a motion requesting an accompanying change in support. Parents can use Michigan’s Do-It-Yourself Motion to Change or Get Child Support for existing cases but new cases must start with filing a complaint with the court.
Remember that if you get behind on payments and file a Motion Regarding Support, the judge reviewing the case might penalize you for the support you owe. In instances involving a great deal of back child support (arrears) that you cannot pay, Michigan courts provide a “toolkit” for managing child support debt.
It is also important to realize that a change in the order could make the support amount less or more than its current status. Parents can also reach an agreement ahead of time and present it to the judge for consideration.
What happens after a motion is filed
In most cases a hearing with a judge will ensue, at which both parents will have a chance to voice their opinion about the status of the support order. Financial information will be required to back up your request and witnesses familiar with the situation are also allowed. From here, the judge will decide whether modification of support is in order.
For more information on modifying child support orders, contact The Gucciardo Law Firm today at (248) 723-5190.
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