How Child Support is Figured Out in Michigan (Pt 1)

Two people shaking hands, while money rains from the sky in the background.
Although it may feel like a shady backroom deal that takes more of your paycheck than is necessary, there’s actually a system for figuring out how much child support you owe.

Child support is somewhat of a mystery to many people. How they figure out what you owe, how often you have to pay, why you end up with the amount that you get stuck with. Each case is a little different, and there are a number of factors involved in each scenario. So let’s take a look at how child support is figured out in Michigan

Child Support Systems in the US:

There are three different systems used to assess and configure child support in the United States. We’re going to provide you guys with a brief overview of the three, and then break down the system used here in Michigan so you understand how your child support is figured out.

  • The Percentages of Income Model:

This model only uses the income of the non-custodial parent to figure out how much child support should be paid. There are actually two variations of this model. One calculates child support amounts based on a fixed percentage regardless of what the parent’s income is, and the other model applies different percentages to different levels of income. The first version, using a fixed percentage, is used in Wisconsin, Nevada, Mississippi, and Alaska. The second version, using a variable percentage, is used in Texas, North Dakota and Arkansas.

  • The Income Shares Model:

In the income shares model, a child receives the same amount of a parent’s income as they would if they were living together. In this model, the idea is that a child deserves to have access to whatever portion of their parent’s income would have supported them when they lived with both parents. This model is used by 40 of the 50 states, including Michigan, New York, Washington, and California.

  • The Melson Model:

The Melson model requires that each parent’s basic needs be met before child support is figured out So the court first figures out what each parent needs for basic survival, before setting child support amounts. This system is used in Delaware, Montana, and Hawaii, with Washington D.C. using a hybrid version of this model to configure child support for parents in their state. 

Child support can be a complicated subject

Join us next time for a look at some factors that influence how child support is figured out in Michigan. Until then, if you’re considering divorce and you’re curious about what your child support payments will look like, call 866 766 5245 and talk to one of our experienced and respected family law attorneys. Over the years we’ve helped countless people through their divorces, handling everything from asset division to custody concerns. We’re available 24/7 to help you too.