Can I Get my Child Support Modified During The Shutdown in Michigan?

A man standing and pulling the insides of his pockets out to show that he has no money.

The unprecedented spread of the Covid19 virus has led to major changes in the way we live life, both here in Michigan, and on a national and even global scale.And for people who pay child support to their exes, this can be a significant issue, especially when so many people are suddenly jobless, or earning considerably less than they are accustomed to. This has led to a number of people reaching out to The Kronzek Firm, asking about what’s involved in having their child support payments modified to accommodate their new financial situation. 

The truth is that everyone’s circumstances are different, and so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.The family courts in every Michigan county including here in Lansing, Eaton County, Clinton and Livingston counties are handling things differently, and so it will depend to some degree on where you live. Procedures are a bit different in Jackson County and Ionia counties too. If you want to know the specifics of your situation, we recommend that you call our family law team at 517 886-1000 for details.

Income withholding when you’re not earning much at all!

One of the issues many people are faced with right now is income withholding for child support payments. If you’re paying child support to your ex through income withholding or wage garnishment, where a portion of your paycheck is automatically withheld by your employer and paid directly to the state, that can be a real financial hardship if the quarantine has resulted in significantly less income. 

This is because the amount being withheld isn’t going to change just because you’re earning less. So you will continue to lose the same amount of money from every paycheck, despite the fact that you’re earning less income. For people struggling to survive during these difficult times, that can mean the difference between being able to feed yourself or going hungry. However, we’re also mindful that your children still need the same amount of food and other necessities. It’s a tough balance. 

Yes, you can request that the court modify your child support payments

The issue of reduced income has left many people wondering if they can have their child support payments modified. The truth is, you are always free to request that a modification of your child support payments, but that doesn’t mean the court will agree to it. Family Courts in Lansing and beyond, use the mandatory Michigan Child Support Formula to determine how much child support a parent must pay. When those circumstances change, that parent may be eligible for a reduced payment even if it’s only a temporary reduction.

If you have lost income or have reduced income, you can hire a family law attorney review the particulars of your case to determine if it is appropriate to file a motion requesting a modification of your child support, or request a review by Friend of the Court. Although these reviews traditionally take several months, Friend of the Court in several Michigan counties are working to expedite the process because they understand how difficult this current situation is. Attorneys can file motions and requests for reviews remotely, so that portion of the process is at least relatively quick.

Things change every day, and having a good attorney makes all the difference

With kids being out of school right now, which impacts parenting time and custody agreements, there are a lot of factors that could influence a child support modification request. Also, the differences between our Mid Michigan area counties are significant. Added to that are important procedural orders that are being issued by the Michigan Supreme Court. So in order for you to make any headway on this tricky subject, you need an attorney who stays up to date on how every court is handling the situation.

Here at The Kronzek Firm, our aggressive and skilled family law attorneys make it a point to stay up to date on how every court in every county around Michigan is handling their child support modification process. We have spent decades helping parents navigate these complex child support processes and despite the fact that life has been turned upside down for all of us, we have no plans to stop. So if you need help figuring out your child support moving forward, or want to know about a possible modification, call us at 517 886-1000. We’ve been helping parents in Lansing and around Mid Michigan for the last 25 years. We can help you too.