How to Compute Child Support Payments in Michigan

By Elizabeth Rayne

Calculating child support under Michigan law can be confusing and complicated. The state uses the income shares model, meaning that child support should provide the children with the same lifestyle they had before the parents divorced. However, in Michigan, only the custodial parent receives child support. To calculate support, the state will consider the income of both parents and other factors concerning additional children, child care and medical needs. The state uses a number of formulas and calculations to take into account all the relevant factors. You may seek assistance from the state to verify your calculations.

Step 1

Determine the income of each parent. In determining income, Michigan law includes wages, tips, earnings from self-employment, capital gains, alimony received from other relationships and employer contributions to retirement plans. The fair market value of goods or services received will also be included as income. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed, the courts will consider the potential income that person would make if he did work.

Step 2

Deduct alimony obligations, taxes, union dues, insurance policy premiums, employer contributions to pension plans and the cost of services paid for any child protective proceedings.

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Step 3

Adjust the net income if either parent supports additional children from a different relationship. Multiply the parent's net income by a percentage based on the number of additional children supported. For example, if the parent supports one additional child, multiply the income by 85 percent.

Step 4

Determine the base support obligation. Use the Michigan General Care Support Table to find the base support amount for the family's total monthly income and number of children. Calculate the percentage of income each parent contributes to the total, and allocate the portion of the base income based on that percentage.

Step 5

Adjust the base support obligation based on parenting time. The support obligation will be lowered according to how many overnights the child spends with the noncustodial parent.

Step 6

Add child care and medical expenses to the total child support obligation. Extraordinary medical expenses may be split between the parties. Child care costs may also be split when it is necessary for the custodial parent to work or seek employment. Child care is only applicable until the child is 12 years old. .

Step 7

Contact your local Friend of the Court office to have your support calculation reviewed. The Friend of the Court office may also provide more information about submitting and receiving child support payments.

Step 8

Make child support payments to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit. Once the support order is in place, the noncustodial parent makes payments to the state which then distributes the payment to the custodial parent. The custodial parent pays her share of child support by directly caring for the children.

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