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How is Child Support Calculated in Michigan?

Child support is calculated pursuant to the Michigan Child Support Guidelines. It is mandatory that the guidelines be followed unless a party can show that the case falls within a statutory exception that permits the court to deviate up or down from the formula. Child support is calculated based on the annual income of each parent (from employment and non-employment sources), the number of children and the number of overnights spent with each parent during the year.

The components of a child support obligation are base support (an amount for the child’s general care), ordinary health care expense (the support payer’s apportioned share of annual medical expenses) and if used, a child care contribution (for work or education related child care payable until August 31 following the child’s 12th birthday).

Child support is paid on a monthly basis and is collected and disbursed through the Michigan State Disbursement Unit. Support is withheld from the payer’s income unless the parties opt out of receiving Friend of the Court services. Support payers are obligated to keep the Friend of the Court advised of any changes in employment and failure to pay as ordered can result in a finding of contempt as the failure is a violation of a court order.

Child support is always modifiable based on a change of circumstances for either party. The modification process starts with the filing of a motion and the support is then computed by the Friend of the Court using the guideline formula.

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