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Child Support in Michigan

Child support is money paid by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the support of a minor child. In determining the amount of child support, Michigan has adopted a Statewide Child Support Guideline. Under a new federal law, the Judge and the Friend of the Court (FOC) must use the guideline in setting support levels unless it would be grossly unfair to do so. The Guideline considers the incomes of both parents and the needs of the child based on national statistics showing what it costs to raise a child in a typical family of a similar income level. Child support is not tax deductible to the parent who is paying it and it is not taxable to the parent who receives it.

Payment of Child Support

Child support should be paid through Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MISDU). This allows for accurate record keeping and prompt and in-expensive enforcement if an arrearage accrues. If direct support payments are made, record keeping and enforcement are made difficult. Many judges will refuse to grant a divorce unless the judgment requires that child support be paid through MISDU. Automatic income withholding (wage garnishment) provisions are required in each temporary support order and in the support clause of the divorce judgment. This requires the non-custodial parent's employer (or other source of income) to withhold from his/her paycheck monies owing for child support.

Modify Child Support

Child support is modifiable upon a showing of "changed circumstances." Support is usually ordered until the minor child reaches the age of eighteen or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last. In exceptional circumstances (such as the child's severe physical or mental disability), support may be continued beyond the age of 18. Child support is modifiable on the same basis as alimony, if a change in circumstances occurs. This support is usually ordered, until the minor reaches the age of 18 years, or graduates from high school, so long as the minor child regularly attends high school on a full-time basis with a reasonable expectation of completing sufficient credits to graduate from high school while residing on a full time basis with the payee of support or at an institution, but in no case after the child reaches nineteen years and six months of age, or until further order of the Court.

Enforcement of Child Support

Enforcement of payments is instituted by an Order to Show Cause. Other enforcement methods include interception of tax refunds, placing liens on the non-custodial parent's property, notification to credit bureaus of past-due support, and holding the non-custodial parent in contempt of court, which could result in a fine, jail, or both.

Child Support & Parenting Time

If a non-custodial parent is denied visitation, it is not the right of that parent to stop making child support payments. Support and visitation are separate issues and should not be played one against the other. If visitation is denied contrary to a court order, or if child support is not paid contrary to a court order, the court will enforce either on behalf of the aggrieved party. A non-custodial parent should not take "the law into their own hands" and withhold child support because he/she has been denied visitation. Conversely, a custodial parent should not deny visitation for the failure to receive child support.

Current Child Support Formula Manual

Child Support Manual Effective 1/1/13

2013 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual - effective 1/1/13

2013 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual Supplement - effective 1/1/13

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