Dozens of parents owing more than one million dollars in child support were arrested in Michigan earlier this year. Those arrested were allegedly able to pay support, but chose not to, resulting in the arrests. Although the arrests are no guarantee that child support will be paid to those owed, it sends a strong message about the importance of keeping up with child support payments.
Calculating Child Support
Under Michigan law, a formula is used to calculate child support payments. This formula establishes the minimum support amount by taking into consideration such factors as healthcare and childcare costs. An experienced family law attorney can help you calculate the child support you are likely to pay or receive, but online calculators made available by the state can also help you obtain an estimate. These calculations take into consideration:
- Parental income
- Number of dependents to be supported
- Number of overnights with each parent
- Medical costs
- Childcare costs
- Any other significant factors in your situation
Michigan does allow for an amount other than that calculated using the child support formula if certain criteria are met. If the court determines that use of the formula would be inappropriate or unjust, it may rule for payment of an amount other than that calculated using the child support formula. For instance, in the case of a child with medical issues, the standard medical allowance used in calculations (currently just over $400 per child) may not be sufficient.
The parents involved may also reach an agreement outside of court for a support amount other than that typically calculated, though this amount must still be affirmed by the court. In either case, Michigan law requires that the reason for the alternative amount be set out in writing, which must include an explanation of why the child support formula’s use would be unjust or inappropriate.
Changes in Child Support
Child support in Michigan typically lasts until the child turns 18, although it can be extended to the age of 19½ if the child is still in high school and expects to graduate and still lives full-time with the custodial parent. Even if extended, the amount of this support can only be modified in the event of:
- Job or income changes
- Custody arrangement changes
The court also reviews the child support amount every three years via the Friend of the Court if either the child or the custodial parent receives public assistance. However, the Friend of the Court will only suggest a change in the child support payment if the change in the support amount is 10% or $50, whichever is more.
Get Help for Your Child Support Needs
An experienced family law attorney can help you ensure that your child support is sufficient and fair. In some cases, state law does not allow for previous payments to be adjusted even if circumstances changed months before filing, so do not wait to contact the attorneys at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today if you need to make changes to your child support arrangement.