Family Law Is All We Do
Child Support in Michigan
How is child support calculated in Michigan?
Child support in Michigan is based on a strict formula known as the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual, also referred to "the Michigan child support guidelines".
What is the Michigan Child Support Formula
Factors considered in calculating child support in Michigan?
Factors in the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual that are used to determine the amount of child support, medical support and child care obligations are:
- Mother's net income
- Father's net income
- Number of children of the parties
- Overnight parenting time of each parent
- Other support obligations
- Custody of other children
- Health care costs
- Child care costs for the minor children in the case
Some people think because they have joint custody or if they will be sharing equal time with the children, that there would automatically be no child support to either party. That is not necessarily true, since the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual also takes into account each of the parent's income and the health care costs, one party may still owe the other party child support even if they have equal parenting time.
Factors NOT considered in calculating child support in Michigan
- The bills of the parties.
- The formula does not consider the bills of the parties.
- The lack of visitation for the party who pays the support.
- Sometimes a non-custodial parent believes that if he/she doesn’t get to see their child, they shouldn’t have to pay child support. This is incorrect.
- Parenting time and child support are two separate issues.
- Child support is still due, even if the parent paying the support is not exercising his/her parenting time.
- If there is a parenting time issue, then a motion regarding parenting time would have to be filed to have the Court address the parenting time issue.
- A new spouse.
- If a party marries another person, that new spouse's income is not used in the formula.
- However, if remarriage effects a party's tax filing (married filing jointly instead of single), it could change a their net income, which could change a support amount.
- Also, if a party has a child with their new spouse, that can effect the support amount.
- Some people believe that if they don’t have a job, they won’t have to pay support. This is incorrect.
- If a party has no income, or is under employed, the Court may “impute” income to the party.
- Imputation of income means that the Court determines a party has the ability to earn a certain income and then bases the order on that amount of imputed income.
How do you calculate child support in Michigan?
Michigan child support lawyers are constantly asked, "How is child support in Michigan is calculated?" The specific information regarding the calculation of child support in Michigan can be found in the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual.
- Most local Friend of the Courts in Michigan use one of two prognosticators, or calculators that allow you to input the information of the case, and they produce a prognostication, or a result that provides you with the appropriate support amounts.
- If you wish to calculate Michigan child support like the Courts, the calculators used by the Courts in Michigan can be purchased by the public and are available online at:
- These prognosticators are as accurate as the information you input into them with respect to Child Support in Michigan.
- These prognosticators also offer spousal support/alimony prognostications, which can be used as a guideline in estimating spousal support/alimony, but are not binding in a Court.
Child support CAN be modified in Michigan
In Michigan, once child support is set in an order by the Court, it may be changed in the future, if the requirements set forth in the Michigan Child Support Formula are met.
- It is important to note that child support can only be changed going forward, and cannot be retroactively modified.
- So, if you have a change in circumstances, you should immediately file a Motion Regarding Child Support.
- This can be done on your own, through the Friend of the Court (forms can generally be found on your local Friend of the Court web site or at their physical office), or with the assistance of an attorney.
- Since child support is always modifiable, if an agreement is made for zero or no child support to either party, and one party returns to the Court for support, the Court can award a child support order, regardless of the prior agreement of the parties.
Payment of child support in Michigan
Currently, court orders for child support in Michigan generally require child support payment to be made through the state centralized payment and distribution center for child support, the Michigan State Disbursement Unit.
- The Michigan State Disbursement Unit is also responsible for Michigan child support enforcement.
- It is possible to avoid payment through the Michigan State Disbursement Unit, and make direct payments to a party, but that would need to be approved by the judge in your case, and may require opting out of the Friend of the Court entirely.
- You cannot prepay child support in Michigan.
- If "prepayment" is made, and the party entitle to support goes back to court for support, the Court will allow a current support order regardless of "prepayment".
Out-of-State child support orders enforced in Michigan
Information can be found on the State Court Administrator's Office regarding the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).
Our office can assist you in registering your out-of-state child support order for enforcement and or modification.