Michigan Child Support Laws
In Michigan, courts, lawyers and the Friend of the Court use a specific formula to determine the amount of child support due in each case. Most family law attorneys will have software that is intended to be used to calculate the amount of child support due in each case. This formula is mandatory. This means that is must be used and it leaves very little room for exceptions or negotiations. This formula is called the Michigan Child Support Formula. Although it is not easy to calculate, using the special software makes the job much simpler for legal professionals.
How is Child Support Calculated?
Child support in Michigan is determined by the Michigan Child Support Formula. It is updated every year to take in to account the annual Federal Income Tax tables. The formula takes in to account various factors or pieces of information. A partial list of the information used includes the income of each parent, the mandatory deductions from each parent’s paycheck, cost of providing medical insurance and day care to the children, the number of minor children involved in your case, the amount of parenting time for each parent, income tax filing status of each parent, alimony being paid or received, other children for whom child support is being paid and other such factors.
Income for a parent can be easy to calculate for people that are employed as “W-2″ employees with payroll checks. Self-employed people, 1099 employees and unemployed people are often more difficult to categorize. However, the Formula does provide information and direction about how those calculations should be done.
There are also a number of items that are not factored into the formula. These include the amount of your rent or mortgage payments, the amount you pay out for other bills, car payments and contributions to retirement accounts. In short, it doesn’t matter whether you have a lot of expenses or just a few. The law feels that your children should come before any of your other expenses.
Although various versions of the MCSF (Michigan Child Support Formula) appear online, those versions are sometimes not updated or current. You should review your case with an experienced family law attorney.
This manual is periodically updated, and the calculators and estimates provided by websites on the Internet are often times not changed when the formula is. In determining your Child Support legal team, you must verify that they are using the most up-to-date version of the manual, complete with the additional supplements determined by the Michigan legislature. These supplements are periodic. If one is missed, it can dramatically impact your child support requirements!
What is Child Support for?
Generally, the person who pays child support cannot require the other parent to account for what the child support is spent on. In some very rare cases, if there is an indication that child support is not being used to support a child, a judge might order an accounting. The is the exception rather than the rule.
Child support is used to help pay for all of the child’s needs. This includes housing and utilities, clothing, uninsured medical expenses, transportation, food, extracurricular activities and entertainment.
How is Child Support Collected
Most commonly, the court will order that child support be automatically deducted from the payer’s source of income. A special kind of garnishment order will be issued as a payroll deduction. It called an Order for Income Withholding (IWO.) The IWO is issued to employers, the unemployment office, pension plans and other sources of income. An unpaid order to pay child support has the same force and effect as other kinds of money judgments in Michigan. Child support orders can also be enforced by the seizing and selling of the delinquent payer’s assets. Child support orders are also enforced through “show cause” hearings and by contempt of court actions in Michigan.
Our firm is ahead of the curve when it comes to keeping up with changes in the law and the updated manual. We utilize Michigan Child Support software that is current and continually adjusted to reflect changes as they occur. Do not let your child support be determined by an outdated online calculator, by a Child Support Lawyer using obsolete materials, or by a Child Support firm which does not properly understand the nuances of this changing and complex area of the law. Call us today to set up your 100% FREE initial consultation!
Call us today at 1-517-886-1000, or e-mail us!