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When a couple with one or more minor children divorces, a child support order is part of their divorce settlement. A child support order is a court order that requires one parent to make recurring payments to the other to help him or her cover the costs of raising their children.
These costs can include, but are not limited to:
If you are required to pay child support, failure to do so is an act of contempt of court. This can have penalties like wage garnishment, a driver’s license suspension, liens against your property, and felony prosecution. Child support orders are handled by the state Friend of the Court office.
In Michigan, child support orders are calculated according to a specific formula. The court is required to use this formula to ensure that every child receives adequate financial support from both of his or her parents.
This formula considers a variety of criteria, which include each parent’s net monthly income, the number of minor children on the order, the monthly cost of family group health insurance each parent pays, the monthly daycare cost each parent pays, and if either parent also has a child support order for his or her children from another relationship, this monthly cost.
Every 36 months, the Friend of the Court will review your child support order. If you want to increase or decrease your child support amount based on substantial financial changes in your life or your former spouse’s life, file your petition for a modification in advance of your review. After reviewing your case, the Friend of the Court may or may not decide to alter your child support order.
If you request a modification, you must provide substantial documentation to support your reason for requesting the change. Valid reasons to modify a child support order include:
If you cannot afford to make your child support payments, do not simply stop making them. Instead, talk to your lawyer about filing a petition to have your order modified. This way, you can avoid being charged with contempt of court because of your financial hardship.
If you have minor children, your child support order is an important part of your divorce settlement. For help establishing a child support order, modifying your child support order once it is in place, or enforcing your child support order, work with an experienced family lawyer. Contact our team of child support attorneys at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today to set up your free legal consultation in our office.