In Michigan, child support is a topic of great importance for parents going through a separation or divorce. The fact that things didn’t work out for the parents means the children must be affected.
Children should still receive parental love and care from both guardians; that is where child support comes in. The court determines the amount of child support to cater to the child’s financial needs. But,
How Much Is Child Support In Michigan?
There is no flat amount of child support in Michigan. Several factors determine the amount of child support payable, which can vary from person to person, depending on the circumstance.
However, if the issue goes through the court, there are guidelines to be followed. The Michigan Child Support Formula (MCSF) is used in the case of Michigan State. Later, we’ll discuss more about MCSF.
What Exactly Is Child Support?
The non-custodial parent makes a monetary payment to the custodial parent to provide for the child’s needs.
The purpose of child support is to help cover the costs of raising a child, including expenses such as food, clothing, housing, education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.
However, child support is separate from visitation rights or custody arrangements. Even if a non-custodial parent has limited or no visitation rights, they are still obligated to provide financial support for their child.
Child support payments are typically made regularly and enforced by Child Support Services.
Failure to pay child support can result in legal consequences, such as wage garnishment or imprisonment.
Michigan Child Support
In Michigan, both parents are responsible for providing for a minor child unless a court decides to modify or end this obligation or if the child becomes emancipated.
However, if the emancipation results from a court order rather than a natural legal process, the parental obligation might continue beyond the emancipation.
Emancipation can occur through legal means such as marriage, military service, or reaching a legal age of 18 years.
Even if one parent doesn’t have primary physical custody of the child, they are still mandated to contribute to the child’s financial support.
This requirement remains even if the custodial parent’s income is sufficient to cover the child’s needs without support from the other spouse. The obligation for child support remains in effect until the last day on which the child turns 18.
Still, there is an exemption: when the child continues attending high school full-time after turning 18 and is expected to graduate, child support may continue beyond 18 years.
However, in such a case, the support obligation ends when the child reaches the age of 19 years and six months.
How Does Child Support Work In Michigan? Determining The Amount Payable
Several factors are considered to determine the amount of child support a parent is obligated to pay.
These factors include the number of children covered, the parent’s overnights with the children, and both parties’ income.
They are essential in calculating the base support according to the Michigan Child Support Formula (MCSF), a standardized method for calculating child support in Michigan.
The MCSF considers various factors to ensure the support obligation is fair and reasonable. The support obligation under the MCSF consists of three main components.
1. There is a base support amount, which is adjusted based on each parent’s parenting time with the child.
It considers and encourages parents’ involvement in the child’s life and ensures that the support amount reflects the time spent with each parent.
2. Medical support obligations. It includes ordinary and extraordinary medical expenses, health care coverage, and the division of premiums.
It ensures that the child has access to necessary medical care and that both parents contribute towards these expenses fairly and equitably.
3. Child care obligations refer to any expenses related to child care, such as daycare or after-school programs.
Once the base support number is determined, it is adjusted to account for additional expenses incurred for the child’s benefit.
This adjustment is made based on the amount of health insurance premiums paid by either parent and any childcare expenses that either party contributes.
The final result of this calculation, which considers the base support, health care costs, and child care expenses, provides the total child support obligation a parent must pay.
This ensures that both parents contribute their fair share towards their children’s financial well-being and upbringing.
Can You Waiver Child Support In Michigan?
Under the Michigan Child Support Guidelines, there is flexibility for the court to deviate from the standard formula in cases where it would result in an unjust or inappropriate amount of child support.
In such instances, the court can determine a more suitable amount. However, the court must clearly state its reasons for deviating from the formula and be guided by specific deviation factors outlined in the child support manual.
The deviation factors listed in the child support manual cover a wide range of circumstances and considerations. They allow the court to consider any relevant factor that may impact the determination of child support.
So, answering the question, can you waive child support in Michigan? The answer is yes; waiving child support by filling out a Deviation Addendum is possible.
The reasons to deviate may vary; however, the local Friend of the Court and the Prosecuting Attorney must approve them.
Some examples of legitimate reasons for deviation may include one parent receiving a greater share of marital assets during a divorce and one parent covering expenses for the child instead of providing direct monetary support.
Or the child support amount is so minimal that it becomes impractical for the Court to administer.
Consequences Of Not Paying Child Support In Michigan
For Michigan parents responsible for paying child support, fulfilling this obligation can often be challenging.
Difficulties may arise when facing unemployment or experiencing disputes with their former spouse. As a result, the temptation to stop making payments can be strong, and some individuals may even believe they are justified in doing so.
However, choosing not to pay child support in Michigan carries significant financial and legal risks. As per the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, you may be subject to any of the following;
1. Income withholding – Both current and past-due child and medical support payments can be deducted from your paycheck. These deductions are then sent to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit. Other sources of income can also be subject to withholding.
2. Lien or levy – Your real or personal property, insurance claims, and other financial assets can be legally seized to enforce payment toward child support.
3. Tax refund offset – Once past-due support reaches a certain threshold, federal and state tax refunds can be seized to fulfill the outstanding obligations.
4. Surcharges added to balance of support owing – If you have defaulted on your child support, the judge can add a semi-annual interest surcharge to the outstanding amount as a penalty for late or missed payments.
5. License suspension – If you miss your child support for more than 2 months, you can have your license for driving, fishing, and hunting revoked or suspended.
Quite a move. And it does make sense, as a parent, what you will be doing recreationally, hunting or fishing, while you can’t pay your child’s support.
6. Pension accounts – Support orders can be enforced against private and government pension plans, whether at the state or federal level.
If you fail to meet your child support obligations, the court can issue an order to garnish your pension account(s) to ensure the payments are made.
7. Passport denial – Arrears of just $2,500 can result in the denial or revocation of your passport, which can be bad, especially if you rely on your passport for travel purposes.
8. Reporting to the credit agency – In some cases where you fail to make payments for more than two months, the credit agency will be notified, which can harm your credit score.
9. Show cause/bench warrant – If you are called to appear in court due to non-payment of support, you may be required to provide a valid reason why the judge should not hold you in contempt. Failing to provide a satisfactory explanation can result in further legal consequences.
10. Felony charges – Yes, you can be charged with a felony non-support by the county prosecutor, and it can carry up to 4 years in prison.
How much is child support in Michigan? Determining the amount of child support in Michigan is a process that considers various factors such as the income of both parents, the number of children involved, and the parenting time arrangement.
While the state provides guidelines, it is important to consult with an attorney or use the online child support calculator to get an accurate estimate of what you are getting into.
Child support is meant to ensure the child’s well-being and provide for their needs; it shouldn’t be too personal.