Michigan Child Support Laws
Child support payments in Michigan are determined by a very specific formula, called the Michigan Child Support Formula. At The Kronzek Firm PLC, we use a special software to calculate the formula, so that are able to help our clients.
Because the formula is mandatory, there is very little room for negotiation in determining child support payments. However, as with most formulas and software, the outcome is determined by the information that is input.
How is Child Support Determined?
Michigan has its own Child Support Formula for calculating child support payments. The formula is extremely complex and changes every year, based on the annual Federal Income Tax tables. Changes in federal tax law also cause the formula to change. Some of the factors the formula takes into account are:
- The gross and net income of each parent
- The amount of mandatory deductions from each parent’s paycheck
- Cost of the child’s medical insurance and daycare
- The number of minor children involved in your case
- The division of parenting time between parents
- Income tax filing status of each parent
- Alimony being paid or received
- Other children for whom child support is being paid
- A variety of other factors
To calculate an employed parent’s income, W-2 forms and pay stubs are commonly used. Often, copies of the parents’ income tax returns are needed. It is a bit more difficult to calculate the incomes of self-employed people, 1099 employees, and unemployed people.
Still, the formula does provide provisions and directions for income calculations for those who are not traditionally employed.
Although the formula does take into account many factors, one of the things not taken into account are most expenses. It doesn’t account for rent, mortgage, other bills, care payments, or retirement account contributions. The idea is that your children should come before all else.
The Michigan Child Support Formula (MCSF) is constantly changing. Because of this, you should be wary of websites that help you calculate the formula, since it is almost impossible to tell whether or not these sites have been fully and correctly updated. The state of Michigan does have an online calculator. Many, including experienced attorneys, find it difficult to use.
The best way to get an accurate estimate of how much you might give or receive in child support payments is to speak with an experienced family law attorney. Your child support legal team should be using the most up-to-date version of the formula, complete with any additional supplements determined by the Michigan legislature. The supplements change periodically as well. Not having the most recent information can dramatically alter the accuracy of your child support estimate.
How are Child Support Payments Used?
Child support payments generally do not have to be accounted for by the parent receiving the payments. It is only in rare cases that parents will have to report how child support payments are being used. In general, child support payments are used for any or all of the child’s needs. This may include clothing, housing and utilities, uninsured medical expenses, food, extracurricular activities, transportation and entertainment.
How is Child Support Collected?
Child support payments are often simply deducted from a parent’s income. To deduct straight from payroll, an Order for Income Withholding (IWO) will be filed. The IWO will be issued either to the employer, the unemployment office, pension plans, and other sources of income.
Failing to pay child support will result in the same force and effect as other kinds of money judgments here in Michigan. A child support order may be enforced through a “show cause” hearing and by contempt of court actions in Michigan. A parent who fails to pay required child support risks having their assets seized and sold and possible jail time.
Because the child support formula is constantly changing, it is important that you find family law attorneys that stay up-to-date and understand recent changes to the formula. At The Kronzek Firm PLC, we use Michigan Child Support software that continually adjusts to reflects the latest changes.
It is a mistake to use an online calculator or to hire an attorney that doesn’t stay up-to-date or that doesn’t understand all the nuances and complexities of Michigan family law. If you trying to figure out child support, call us today to set up your FREE consultation!
Call us today at 1-517-886-1000, or email us!