Child Support Put Our Experience to Work for You & Your Family

Sterling Heights Child Support Lawyers

In Michigan, statutory guidelines and a formula are applied when determining how much monthly child support a parent must pay. The basic factors that impact child support payment determinations include the number of children, the parents' income levels, and the necessary living expenses for each child. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that a spouse who is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed may not be relieved of their duty to contribute to support.

At Goetting Corrado Law Group, P.C., we understand the importance of obtaining a fair child support payment for you and your family. Additionally, we will work tirelessly in the event you need to obtain or defend against a child support modification.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

The amount of child support is calculated using the Michigan Child Support Formula. This formula considers the following factors:

  • Both parents’ incomes
  • Number of overnights each parent exercises
  • Number of children supported
  • Children's health insurance premiums
  • Childcare costs
  • Other factors the court deems necessary

Modifying Child Support

There may be situations where one parent would like to modify their child support obligation. This might occur if a child has special needs, expensive educational expenses, or other extraordinary factors the court deems fit.

The situations listed above have been approved by the Michigan Child Support Formula. However, the court can deviate from the child support formula for a good cause, as it sees fit.

A parent can only request to have their child support obligation reviewed once every 3 years. However, if there has been a significant change, a parent may be able to get the Fried of the Court (FOC) to do a review.

How to Pay Child Support

The Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU) and the Friend of the Court (FOC) work together to collect and distribute child support payments. In most cases, child support payments are automatically withheld from the payer’s wages and MiSDU forwards them to the payee. Both the payer and the payee get a copy of the income withholding order when support is paid this way.

Sometimes income withholding is not possible because the payer is self-employed (or for other reasons). In those cases, the payer must make payments directly to MiSDU. Sometimes both parties agree to an alternative payment arrangement. If payments are not made through MiSDU, the payee must let the FOC know they received payments for the payer to get credit.

What Happens if You Fail to Make Child Support Payments?

If the parent that owes child support becomes substantially behind in his/her payments, a motion can be filed to obtain child support. If this occurs, the payer could potentially lose his /her driver's license or must face jail time.

What If I Cannot Pay My Child Support Obligation?

Due to a change in circumstance, you may not be able to pay part or full of your child support obligation. A change in circumstance is considered loss of a job or a significant change in your income level. If this happens, you can request a temporary or permanent modification from the court for your child support obligation.

To make such a request, you must prove that your financial situation has changed. You maybe required to submit pay stubs, tax returns, and/or proof of income.

The Friend of the Court (FOC) will review your case and may file a motion on your behalf if they consider your change in circumstance reason to warrant a modification. At that point, the court consider whether it makes sense to adjust your child support payments. The court will also refer to other factors such as whether doing so would be considered in the best interest of the child.

Similarly, if you are not receiving enough in child support payments to be able to sufficiently support your child, you can request a modification.

Reach out online or call us at (586) 554-2200 to secure an initial appointment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q:How is child support calculated?

    A:The amount of child support is calculated using the Michigan Child Support Formula. It takes into account:
    Both parents’ incomes
    The number of overnights each parent exercises
    The number of children supported
    Children's health insurance premiums
    Child care costs
    Other factors

  • Q:What if we agree to a different amount not based on the formula?

    A:The court must order support according to the formula unless the result would be unfair or inappropriate. If the parents reach an agreement about the child support amount, the court can consider the agreement, but it does not have to approve it. In most cases the courts will approve an amount that is more than the formula amount but rarely will they approve an amount below the formula amount.

  • Q:What if the other parent is unemployed or underemployed?

    A:If a parent is unemployed or has chosen to reduce his or her income, the court may decide the party has the ability to earn more. In this situation, the court may calculate and order support based on imputed (potential) income. Imputed income is the amount the court decides the party has the ability to earn; it is not the amount actually earned.

  • Q:What if I'm paying my child's health insurance?

    A:When child support is ordered the court issues an order called a Uniform Child Support Order (UCSO). The UCSO requires the payer to pay a monthly amount for child support. The monthly amount includes base support plus or minus the amount that either parent pays for health-care insurance premiums.
    For example, if the payer provides health care insurance for the children, and pays a premium for that insurance, part of the premium cost may be subtracted from the base support amount.
    If the payee provides health care insurance for the children, and pays a premium for that insurance, part of the premium cost may be added to the base support amount.
     The monthly child support amount also includes amounts for child care (based on the actual costs) and for ordinary medical expenses (currently $345 a year for each child). Ordinary medical expenses are costs for uninsured things like office visits and prescription co-pays. Ordinary medical expenses do not include care provided by parents, like first aid supplies and over-the-counter medicines.
    The UCSO also states how extraordinary medical expenses should be paid. Extraordinary medical expenses are uninsured costs that are above the amount allowed for ordinary medical expenses in a calendar year. These extraordinary expenses are called uninsured health-care expenses.
    Usually each parent is ordered to pay a percentage of these extraordinary health-care expenses based on income. It is up to the payee to provide proof of both ordinary and extraordinary medical expenses and to ask the payer to pay their share of those costs.

  • Q:How does the parent actually pay the support to the other parent?

    A:The Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU) and the Friend of the Court(FOC) work together to collect and distribute child support payments. In most cases, child support payments are automatically withheld from the payer’s wages and MiSDU forwards them to the payee. Both the payer and the payee get a copy of the income withholding order when support is paid this way. Sometimes income withholding is not possible because the payer is self-employed or for other reasons. In those cases the payer must make payments directly to MiSDU. Sometimes the parties agree to an alternative payment arrangement. If payments are not made through MiSDU, the payee must let the FOC know they received the payments so the payer gets credit.

  • Q:What happens if the child support payer fails to pay child support?

    A:If the parent that owes child support becomes substantially behind in his or her payments, a motion can be filed in which the payer could potentially lose his his or her driver's license, occupational license and go to jail.

  • Q:How is child support paid?

    A:The Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU) and the Friend of the Court(FOC) work together to collect and distribute child support payments. In most cases, child support payments are automatically withheld from the payer’s wages and MiSDU forwards them to the payee. Both the payer and the payee get a copy of the income withholding order when support is paid this way.
    Sometimes income withholding is not possible because the payer is self-employed or for other reasons. In those cases the payer must make payments directly to MiSDU. Sometimes the parties agree to an alternative payment arrangement. If payments are not made through MiSDU, the payee must let the FOC know they received the payments so the payer gets credit.

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Working With Goetting & Corrado Law Group, P.C.
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