Children have an inherent right to the support from their natural or adoptive parents. Michigan law makes certain that parents provide financial support for their children, even when they are not a part of their daily lives.
But what constitutes a fair and appropriate support amount? How that number is calculated often depends upon the parties’ incomes, parenting time arrangements, and a variety of other circumstances. When parents disagree over the payment of support, a skilled family law attorney can help find solutions that meet the children’s financial needs while considering the limits of each parent’s budget.
Michigan Child Support Formula
By default, child support in Michigan is calculated according to the Michigan Child Support Formula (MCSF). The MCSF calculates support based primarily on:
- The income of the parties and
- The number of overnights each parent has with the children.
The MCSF also factors in health care insurance premiums, childcare expenses, and an average estimated amount for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses per child known as annual ordinary medical. It also accounts for support paid for children from other relationships, contributions to individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and even considers in-kind assistance – goods and services one receives in lieu of income – such as room and board or mileage reimbursement for travel.
How a Child Support Lawyer Can Help
For many years, the calculation and determination of child support was done behind closed doors, leaving parents to wonder what went into the calculations. While the state of Michigan recently launched a public version of its Michigan Child Support Calculator online, the process used to calculate support is still just as confusing and complex as ever. When one or both parents’ incomes are not easily reduced to a W-2, a child support attorney can help the parties settle on a number that includes all of the parties’ various incomes and who pays what bills for the children. An attorney can help put a measurable value on commissions, bonuses, and tips, and account for less traditional forms of income, to ensure your child has the support needed to thrive.
Deviating from the Michigan Child Support Formula
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution in family law. In most cases, when the Michigan Child Support Formula creates an unreasonable result, a skilled family attorney can help parents depart from the support guidelines and come to an agreement on an amount they believe is fair. For example, an attorney can help offset support when one parent pays for a child’s expenses directly, such as private school tuition, instead of through the Michigan Child Support Disbursement Unit (MiSDU).
Contact us to schedule your free consultation with a child support lawyer with the knowledge of the Michigan Child Support Formula and who will help you understand the “how” and “why” behind your child support obligations. We will also review the steps to craft a holistic child support arrangement that is sustainable and equitable, and options to vigorously defend you when opposing parties don’t live up to their obligations.
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