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Sterling Heights Child Support Lawyer

Sterling Heights Child Support Lawyer

In Michigan, parents are obligated to financially support their children, which when a couple goes through a divorce, takes the form of child support payments. The state takes parental duties very seriously, so failing to comply with a child support order can have severe repercussions, including driver’s license suspension and property liens, so if you owe child support, but do not have the means to pay, it is important to contact a Sterling Heights family law attorney who can help you seek a modification of your order.

Calculating Child Support

The amount of child support that a parent must pay is calculated using a specific formula that takes into account:

  • Each party’s net income;
  • The number of children being supported;
  • Parenting time arrangements;
  • Medical costs;
  • Child care costs; and
  • Deductions.

When couples are unable to come to an agreement about child support in an out-of-court setting, a family law judge will step in and apply the formula.

Net Income

When calculating child support, the court will first attempt to determine each party’s net income, which includes adding up all of a person’s:

  • Wages, commissions, and bonuses;
  • Tips, dividends, interest, and royalties;
  • Earnings from self-employment or rentals;
  • Capital gains;
  • Military pay;
  • The fair market value of goods and services, such as use of a company car, housing, or meals; and
  • Distributed funds from insurance policies, retirement plans, and trust funds.

At this point, the court will deduct certain expenses, including alimony obligations, taxes, and insurance policy premiums. The family’s total monthly income will then be calculated using The Michigan General Care Support Table, which also takes into account the number of children being supported. Once the percentage of income contributed by each parent is calculated, a portion of the base income will be allocated to each party.

Parenting Time and Medical Costs

After determining the base support obligation, the court will adjust the total by calculating parenting time, as the monthly child support payment will be lowered according to how much time the child spends with each parent. Child care and medical expenses will then be added to the total payment, although extra medical expenses will be split between the parties evenly.

The Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support

Failing to make child support payments can have serious consequences for non-custodial parents. For example, courts can withhold money from a parent’s paycheck and issue liens against his or her property. Judges can also take the following measures:

  • Withholding money from bank accounts;
  • Issuing a bench warrant for the person’s arrest;
  • Suspending the parent’s driver’s license;
  • Booting the parent’s car; and
  • Intercepting state and federal tax returns.

To avoid these types of penalties, parents should pay on time and if necessary, seek a modification of the order in court.

Call Today to Speak With a Sterling Heights Family Law Attorney

Family law matters can be emotional and complicated, and having the advice of an attorney is often necessary to ensuring that the best interests of you and your child are served, so if you are considering going through a divorce and have concerns about paying child support, please contact Iafrate & Salassa at (586) 263-1600 today.

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