How Do Michigan Courts Determine Child Support?

(c) The Walt Disney Company

A Michigan child support obligation includes payment for the general care and needs of a child (base support), medical support and child care expenses. The Michigan Courts follow a formula to determine child support which considers each parent’s incomes, the amount of time the child spends with each parent and the child’s medical and child care expenses.

In calculating a parent’s base child support responsibility an attorney considers what percent their client’s net income is of the combined net income of both parents, only if their income is above the low income threshold. Certain deductions are allowed. Base child support is not less than 10% of the parents income or greater than 90% of that parent’s income. If the parent’s income is not above the low income threshold their child support obligation willl not be more than 10% of their income. Parents typically split of the cost of extra medical expenses at the end of the year based on retained receipts.

There are situations where the application of this formula does not lead to a just or appropriate result. The court has discretion to deviate from the child support formula under specific circumstances listed below:


(1) The child has special needs.
(2) The child has extraordinary educational expenses

(3) A parent is a minor.
(4) The child’s residence income is below the threshold to qualify for public assistance, and at least one parent has sufficient income to pay additional support that will raise the child’s standard of living above the public assistance threshold.
(5) A parent has a reduction in the income available to support a child due to extraordinary levels of jointly accumulated debt.
(6) The court awards property in lieu of support for the benefit of the child.
(7) A parent is incarcerated with minimal or no income or assets.
(8) A parent has incurred, or is likely to incur, extraordinary medical expenses for either that parent or a dependent.
(9) A parent receives bonus income in varying amounts or at irregular intervals.
(10) Someone other than the parent can supply reasonable and appropriate health care coverage.
(11) A parent provides substantially all the support for a stepchild, and the stepchild’s parents earn no income and are unable to earn income.
(12) A child earns an extraordinary income.
(13) The court orders a parent to pay taxes, mortgage installments, home insurance premiums, telephone or utility bills, etc., before entry of a final judgment or order.
(14) A parent must pay significant amounts of restitution, fines, fees, or costs associated with that parent’s conviction or incarceration for a crime other than those related to failing to support children, or a crime against a child in the current case or that child’s sibling, other parent, or custodian.
(15) A parent makes payments to a bankruptcy plan or has debt discharged, when either significantly impacts the monies that parent has available to pay support.
(16) A parent provides a substantial amount of a child’s day-time care and directly contributes toward a significantly greater share of the child’s costs than those reflected by the overnights used to calculate the offset for parental time.
(17) A child in the custody of a nonparent-recipient spends a significant number of overnights with the payer that causes a significant savings in the nonparent-custodian’s expenses.
(18) The court ordered nonmodifiable spousal support paid between the parents before October 2004.
(19) When a parent’s share of net child care expenses exceeds 50 percent of that parent’s base support obligation calculated under §3.02 before applying the parental time offset.

(20) When the amount calculated does not exceed $15, and the administrative cost to enforce and process payments outweighs the benefit of the minimal amounts.
(21) Any other factor the court deems relevant to the best interests of a child.

The court also has the discretion to award more support in high income situations to meet each child’s needs.

If you are seeking child support or want to defend yourself in a child support proceeding contact Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law to provide you reliable counsel.

Published by Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law P.C.

Divorce & Family Law Attorney Licensed in Michigan & New York

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