With every divorce involving children under the age of 18 (19 ½ if the child is still in high school), your Judgment of Divorce will include a provision concerning child support. Child support is money paid by one parent to the other to assist in the support of the children. In Michigan, child support is determined based upon the Michigan Child Support Formula used to calculate each parent’s child support obligation based on both parents’ incomes and other specific characteristics of the parents’ situation. While child support is determined for each parent, one parent will be the “paying” parent contributing to the support of the child, while the parent receiving the child support is presumed to be contributing directly to the child’s support.
Child support includes an amount for the general care and needs of a child, an amount for medical support and, where applicable, child care expenses. As of October 1, 2008, the Formula takes into account the number of overnights that each parent has with the minor children. (Previously, child support was not based upon overnights unless there was a “shared economic responsibility” situation.) In all cases, child support is very fact specific and there are computer programs used statewide, including by the Friend of the Court, to properly determine child support. The most important information to determine the child support to be paid is: each parent’s income, number of children involved, and the number of overnights each child will spend with each parent. There are other variable factors, but these are the most significant.
Child support can vary from the Formula under certain circumstances; and parents can also voluntarily pay more than the Formula amount. Often, parents will agree to share the cost of extra-curricular activities, and some parents also state specifically in their Judgment of Divorce how college will be paid for their children. As every situation is different, the Michigan family law attorneys at Family Law of Michigan are glad to answer your specific questions and advise you as to the appropriate amount of child support in your particular situation.