In January, the Michigan Legislature enacted a series of new changes to the state’s child support laws. The amendments will have a significant impact on how child support is calculated, so if you are considering a divorce and have questions or concerns about paying child support, it is critical to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can explain your legal rights and responsibilities.
The recently enacted revisions make some drastic changes to child support law in Michigan. For instance, employer contributions to retirement plans will no longer be counted as income for the purposes of calculating child support unless the account is accessed, at which point the funds would qualify as income. Furthermore, the 5.5 percent deduction placed on voluntary contributions has been removed. Instead, only mandatory retirement contributions that are a condition of employment will be deducted. Under the new rules, courts have the discretion to deviate from the standard care tables when determining child support awards if a party has an “extremely high income,” which means that the person’s income is at least several times larger than the highest income listed on the tables. Employer reimbursements for tuition, health savings accounts, and education are also not considered income for child support calculation purposes.
It is relatively common for one parent to pay more than the other in medical costs. In these situations, the court will take this into account when determining child support. Under the new changes the minimum threshold for enforcing additional medical expenses is $100 per year. However, there are two situations where a court will treat all medical expenses as additional, including when:
- Both parents regularly take the child to receive medical care and incur essentially equal expenses; and
- The payer will incur most of the out-of-pocket medical costs.
The new law also provides a deduction for the out-of-pocket costs incurred under health care plans, whether they are purchased thorough an employer, a private insurer, or on the exchange.
Parental Time Offset
The amount of time that each parent spends performing child care duties has always been one of the most important factors in determining the amount of child support payments. While this factor remains a part of the court’s analysis, the offset has been altered and is now calculated at a factor of 2.5. The change was made in an effort to ensure that payments better reflect the overall costs incurred by the parent who receives child support, which includes additional time spent parenting the child.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today
Going through a divorce can be a stressful and emotional process, so having the advice of a compassionate and knowledgeable family law attorney can make all the difference in ensuring that a child’s best interests are protected. If you are considering a divorce or believe that your child support payments should be modified, please contact one of the experienced family law attorneys at Iafrate & Salassa by calling (586) 263-1600. You can also reach us by sending an email with a brief description of your case.