Child Support - How is it Calculated and What Does it Cover?

In Michigan, both parents are required to contribute to the support of their children, unless they are disabled or truly unable to work. When parents divorce or separate we need to know how much each parent earns or could earn, if working outside the home, and how much time the children expect to spend with each parent in order to calculate support. We also need to know how much one parent pays out-of-pocket for health insurance to cover the children and the average monthly cost of child care for children who are age 12 and under.

Generally, the parent who has the children the greater amount of time and earns less receives support from the parent who has the children the lesser amount of time and earns more.

What happens if the parents share parenting time 50/50? The parent who earns more still pays the lesser earning parent. Only if the parents earn equivalent salaries can child support be avoided.

The computer program that I use also determines the proportionate share of each parent's income. For example, if Parent 1 has the children 57% of the time, and earns 45% of the family income, that parent will receive child support, plus a contribution from the 55% earning parent for the amount of child care that Parent 1 incurs, after the federal income tax credit is applied. Parent 2 will pay Parent 1, 55% of the after-tax child care cost. If Parent 2 pays out-of-pocket for health insurance for the children, then Parent 2 will receive 45% of the out-of-pocket cost for health insurance as a credit on child support.

As you can tell, each case is unique and requires specific examination to determine the amount of support that should be paid.

Now that you have the overview, read the articles that follow for more specific information about child support.