Parents are responsible for financially supporting their children. When parents are divorced or separated, the court orders child support to ensure the child’s needs are met.
The support order may include payments for food, clothing, shelter, health insurance, educational expenses, child care expenses, medical care, travel costs and extracurricular activities. It is intended to help with the costs of raising the child.
In Michigan, child support obligations remain in place until the child turns 18 or 19 ½ if the child has not graduated high school and still lives full-time with the parent who receives child support.
Child support calculations
In determining the amount of child support to order, the court may review several factors. These include the parents’ incomes, custody and parenting time arrangements, the number of children requiring support, medical costs, child care costs and other items.
Income includes wages, overtime pay, commissions, bonuses, business earnings and earnings from self-employment. Child support is generally calculated on each parent’s share of their combined incomes.
If the parent who is paying child support is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may consider the potential income the parent could earn to calculate the child support owed. This could include a review of his or her prior employment history, educational level and availability to work. Also, when ordering child support the court will include a requirement for one parent to maintain health insurance coverage for the child.
It will also include child care costs. If the parents currently have child care in place, this calculation is based on the actual, predictable and reasonable costs of care. If they do not, the court may review the community’s average child care costs.
Child support calculations can be complex and are dependent on the parents’ individual circumstances. An experienced family law attorney can provide representation and advice.