Helping Families Navigate Michigan Child Support

Michigan Child Support Basics

In Michigan, both parents have a duty to support their children. A child support order provides predictability about the amount and frequency of child support payments.

Child support is calculated according to the Michigan Child Support Formula, which is modified by the Michigan Supreme Court every few years. Courts must use the formula when issuing an initial or modified child support order. Parents often want to establish child support that deviates from the Michigan Child Support Guidelines. It is not a given that a child’s support can be established outside the formula. We can help you understand the limited circumstances under which the child support formula can be adjusted.

While both parents technically owe child support, one parent pays the other. Each parent’s child support obligation is calculated based on their income, the number of overnights the child spends in their home, and other factors including health insurance premiums. The parents’ support obligations are offset against each other, with the parent who owes more paying the difference to the one who owes less. Child support must be paid until a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later, and sometimes until the child turns 19 ½, under limited circumstances.

Under federal law, parents must provide health insurance for their minor children if either parent has a healthcare plan that covers children. When the child has uninsured health care costs, parents must share them in proportion to their respective incomes. This percentage will be reflected in your Uniform Child Support Order which will sometimes be entered on a temporary basis during your case, and on a final basis when your final judgment or order is signed by the judge.

Enforcing and Modifying Michigan Child Support Orders

Unless parents specifically agree otherwise, child support is paid and distributed through the Michigan Support Disbursement Unit (MiSDU) via the Friend of the Court. This establishes a record of payments and enables enforcement of payment through Friend of the Court services. Usually, support is collected by way of an Income Withholding Order to the payer’s employer. Failure to pay child support can result in garnishment of the payer’s tax refunds, suspension of professional or recreational licenses, fines, and unless there is a bona fide inability to pay, incarceration. Each child support payment is considered a judgment as of the date it is due and is not retroactively modifiable except in very limited circumstances. The statute of limitations for enforcing child support is ten years.

Circumstances may change, such as a parent’s income, requiring child support be modified. Check with us to determine if the change meets the legally required threshold for modification. Either party can petition the court for a modification of the original child support order. A party may also request an automatic Friend of the Court review every three years.

How We Help You Resolve Child Support Issues

Nichols, Sacks, Slank, Sendelbach, Buiteweg & Solomon has helped thousands of clients with Michigan child support issues since the firm was founded in 1994. With our in-depth knowledge of Michigan child support law, we can ensure that your child support calculation is based on the right information and yields an accurate result.

If you have questions about a Michigan child support matter, please contact us to schedule a consultation so we can help you ensure that your children’s needs are met.