187 South Old Woodward Avenue
Suite 250
Birmingham, Michigan 48009
Call Today (248) 540-3800
Divorce / Family Law Specialists
Ronald J. Bajorek
& Associates

Child Support

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Michigan Child Support Formula take into account the incomes of both parents? 
Yes.  In arriving at a child support amount the formula factors both parents’ incomes.  The formula however does not penalize the custodial parent by deducting child support dollar for dollar but rather a small fraction of each dollar. 

Can child support be changed once it has been set? 

Yes.  It is very common for child support to be modified upon a showing of a change of circumstances.   A change of circumstances is mostly either an increase or decrease in either parties incomes.  Sometimes the needs of the children change justifying the increase.  The minimum threshold for modification is 10% or more of the existing child support order or $25.00 per month whichever is less.  By law, the Friend of the Court must periodically review support orders every three years.  A word of caution, the Friend of the Court often does not fulfill this obligation, leaving up to you.

What is the role of the Friend of the Court? 

The Friend of the Court is an agency of the court which acts to investigate all relevant facts and to make written reports and recommendation to the parties, their attorneys and to the court in cases of disputed custody, parenting time, child support or spousal support issues. 

Do the parties have to use the Friend of the Court?

The parties may “opt out” of the Friend of the Court services upon approval of the judge.  If the parties opt out of the Friend of the Court services they have the full responsibility to administer and enforce between them payment of child support/spousal support, medical bills, child care expenses and any and all other matters relating to the obligations arising out of the divorce. 

Can my spouse and I agree to waive child support?

Yes and no.  Michigan law does not allow parties to agree to waive child support or to never seek to modify child support.  The law will allow the parties to deviate from the child support formula provided the parties appear before the court and explain specific criteria justifying deviation from the formula.  In many cases where the parties have joint custody and both earn equal amounts they have been able to waive payment of child support between them. 

When does child support end?

Child support ends when the child turns 18 or no later than 19 ½ if the child is regularly attending high school full-time, has a reasonable expectation of graduating from high school and is living full-time with the payee or at an institution.  The law does not allow a court to order child support after the age of 19 ½ as stated above. 

I pay alimony.  Is my child support calculated by excluding the alimony from my gross income? 

No. 

What is the relationship between overnight visits and child support? 

Michigan Child Support Formula calculates child support based not only on the parent’s respective income but also on the amount of annual overnights the children spend with each parent. 

What if my spouse is self-employed and fails to report his full income?

In such case your attorney must do a full investigation of your spouse’s business including tax returns, banking statements, monthly expense ledgers, customer lists, profit and loss statements, loan applications and so on to prove the actual income.  For example depreciation and car expenses are typically used to lower taxable income which amounts must be added back and counted as actual income to the payor. 

My spouse quit his job to take a lower paying job to avoid paying child support. 

If a party voluntarily reduces or quits his job to eliminate income the court can conclude that the party had the ability to earn income and pay child support and can order support based upon unexercised ability to earn.   Other factors that the court will consider will include employment history, education skills, available job opportunities, attempts to find jobs, the Defendant’s assets, health and physical ability and availability of employment. 

My ex-spouse owes me a substantial amount of child support.  How can I collect it? 

Michigan law provides many remedies for enforcement of past due child support including income withholding orders directly from wages and/or tax refunds, liens on real and personal property, garnishment, suspension of occupational and/or driver’s license, contempt proceedings and surcharges on overdue amounts. 

CALL FOR YOUR FREE CONSULTATION
OR TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
(248) 540-3800

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Child Support in Michigan is governed by the Michigan Child Support Formula published by the State Court Administrators Office and available at http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/services/focb/mcsf.htm

The Michigan Child Support Formula is followed by every court in Michigan and can only deviate from the formula in cases where application of the formula would be “unjust or inappropriate” including cases of high income earners where the needs of the children justify additional monthly support payments based on the ability, resources, and income of the wage earner.  Child support applies in cases of divorce, separate maintenance (legal separation), annulment and paternity.  Child support has even been ordered where the payor is not the biological father of the children.  Child support does not apply however to guardianships or stepchildren.  Under Michigan law both parents have an equal duty to support the children.   Child support includes not only the base support amounts contained in the formula but also payment of health care expenses and child care expenses. 

 

 


Ronald J. Bajorek
187 South Old Woodward Avenue
Suite 250
Birmingham, Michigan 48009
Call Today (248) 540-3800
Located in the historic Birmingham Theatre Office Building 1 block south of Maple, in the heart of downtown Birmingham.

Providing comprehensive divorce representation throughout Michigan including cities of Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Franklin, Bingham Farms, Beverly Hills, Huntington Woods, Troy, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Novi, Southfield, Royal Oak, Farmington Hills, Clarkston, Livonia, Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Commerce, Milford, Brighton, Grosse Pointe, Sterling Heights, Bloomfield Twp., Shelby Twp., Macomb, Ann Arbor, Lake Orion, Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County and Livingston County among others.

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