How Child Support is Figured Out in Michigan (Pt 2)

A man standing, pulling the insides of his pockets out to show that he has no more money.
It may feel like they’re taking everything you’ve got (and more!) but there’s an equation the court is following here…

Welcome back and thanks for joining us. We’ve been looking at the subject of child support and how it’s figured out in Michigan. In the previous article, we broke down the three most commonly used models for figuring out child support in the US (which includes the Income Shares Model used here in Michigan). 

However, while that explains the way our courts figure out child support here in the Great Lakes state, it doesn’t explain how they arrive at the individual amounts for each person. So let’s take a look at some of the more immediate factors that could influence your child support order.

You and your spouse can figure out your own child support

A divorcing couple always has the opportunity to figure out all of their own divorce-related decisions without involving the court, if they choose to. Technically, the court will only make a decision on your behalf if you and your spouse can’t work together to come to a reasonable agreement. However, every decision made by a divorcing couple has to be signed off by the court. 

So offering to pay $5 a month in child support for your three kids, even if your spouse agrees to it, isn’t likely to be considered fair by the judge who reviews your divorce paperwork. So even if you figure it all out between the two of you, make sure your agreement is fair and reasonable (which is just another reason to make sure your divorce attorney is good!)

The Supreme Court established the guidelines

If the Michigan family court steps in to determine child support amounts for divorcing parents, they use guidelines established by the Supreme Court. These are based on the monthly net income of both parents, and the time the child spends with each parent. There is a simple formula used by the court, which helps them figure out the appropriate amount. 

However, there are situations where the court disregards the formula because of certain circumstances. These could include a child with special needs, or a child with a certain medical condition which means they need a much higher level of care, or their care involves considerable financial commitment. Other special circumstances include an incarcerated parent, a parent who is a minor, or a parent who has filed for bankruptcy and is paying on a plan.

Child support can be complex, but we can help!

Figuring out all of the different aspects of life when you get divorced can be exhausting and overwhelming. But you don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) do it alone. So if you’re considering divorce and you’re curious about what your child support payments will look like, call 866 766 5245

You can talk to one of our experienced and respected family law attorneys – we have answers for all of your questions. Over the years we’ve helped countless people in mid-Michigan through their divorces, handling everything from asset division to custody concerns. We’re available 24/7, and we can help you too.