In need of a Michigan Child Support Modification Attorney?
What is Child Support?
Child support is an ongoing, monthly payment made by one parent to the other parent for the benefit of a child following the end of a marriage or relationship. A parent with custody of the child, referred to as the “custodial parent,” has most of the day-to-day expenses of child-raising and is entitled to receive support from the parent without custody of the child, referred to as the “noncustodial parent.” Child support obligations generally last until the child turns 18 years of age but may continue up until the child turns 19 ½ if the child is still in high school and lives full-time with the parent receiving support. The goal of child support is not to punish the parents but rather help them develop a financial partnership for the sake of their minor child.
For more information on how we can help, call our Michigan Child Support Modification Attorney, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Who Pays Child Support?
According to MCL 722.3, courts may order a non-custodial parent to pay the custodial parent support for the care of their minor child. The parent who pays child support is called the “payer.” The parent who receives the child support is called the “payee.”
In Michigan, child support payments are sent to a government agency known as the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU). Noncustodial parents are required to make payments directly to MiSDU, which then processes the payment and disburses it to the custodial parent. Payments are generally deducted from the non-custodial parent’s income through income withholding. The employer sends the money directly to MiSDU, which then disburses it to the custodial parent’s checking account, savings account, or child support debit card. Payments may also be submitted through PayNearMe at 7-Eleven, Family Dollar, or CVS Pharmacy stores nationwide.
How is Child Support Calculated?
Child support is calculated using the Michigan Child Support Formula. This formula takes several factors into account, including:
• Number of children supported
• Income of both parents
• Custody and parenting time arrangements
• Medical costs
• Child care costs
• Other support obligations
Except as otherwise permitted by MCL 552.605, courts must order child support in the amount determined by applying this formula. Unless rebutted by facts in a specific case, the law presumes that this formula sets appropriate levels of support (2017 MCSF 1.01(B)).
Enforcement of Child Support:
The Friend of the Court is responsible for enforcing child support orders. If a parent does not comply with the terms of the order, the following enforcement methods can be used:
• Withholding income from the payer’s wages
• Placing liens on a payer’s real or personal property
• Garnishing state and federal tax refunds
• Garnishing worker’s compensation benefits
• Suspending driving, occupational, sporting, and/or recreational licenses
• Reporting to credit bureaus
The Friend of the Court may also initiate court proceedings. The parent ordered to pay child support must appear before the court for a show cause hearing and explain why he or she should not be held in contempt of court. If the parent is found in contempt of court, Michigan’s sentencing guidelines allow a court to order the parent to spend up to 45 days in jail, or 90 days in jail for a second offense, and/or fines of up to $250. Nonpayment of child support may result in a felony conviction if the parent repeatedly fails to make child support payments and willfully withholds those payments. If convicted of felony nonpayment, Michigan’s sentencing guidelines allow a court to order the parent to spend up to 4 years in prison and/or to pay fines of up to $2,000.
Child Support Modification:
Either party may request a child support modification. Michigan law allows child support orders to be modified when there has been a “substantial change of circumstances.” Examples of a substantial change of circumstances include a change or loss of employment, promotion, modification of the custody/parenting time arrangement, or having additional children in a subsequent relationship.
Michigan law does not allow a child support order to be modified retroactively. This means that support can only be modified for the future and not for payments that have already become due. Once child support is billed, it usually will not be changed. This is why it is very important to file a motion to have your support changed once there becomes a change of circumstances.
If you need assistance with establishing a child support order or modifying a current child support order, call our experienced Michigan Child Support Modification Attorney at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.