child supportIn the Michigan Family Courts, one role of the county Friend of the Court is to make an initial child support determination. Child support is owed to the minor children and cannot be waived by the parents without approval of the family court judge. In 2008, the Michigan Child Support Formula was modified to its present form.

The Formula is the required method for determination of a parent’s child support obligation. In its simplest terms, income for each parent is determined. From there, a base support and medical support component is derived; a “parental time” offset is determined on the theory that the more time a parent spends with a child, the greater the expense for that parent.

Adjustments for low income parents and for the cost of health insurance are taken into account in the basic formula. The equation then expresses the child support owed by netting out the obligation of each parent; one parent, based on the factors discussed above, will owe more than the other and thus, that parent is the child support payor; the other parent is the child support payee.

For more detailed information about how a child support obligation is derived, this link takes you to the 2013 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual. In addition, most family law practitioners purchase software that is issued annually by 2 or 3 software manufacturers; this software can generate a child support report specific to your income, health insurance and parenting time inputs.

The State of Michigan’s Office of Child Support very recently unveiled a child support calculator on-line. The program, known as CALC, is a useful tool for support payors and payess alike. County Friends of the Court have been using CALC for years.

This new child support tool is very user-friendly and has useful information pages and links to key provisions of the Michigan Child Support Manual. The website also features instructions on how to save your calculations. Payors and payees alike are encouraged to utilize this  tool to determine their likely support obligations.

Emancipation dates can be entered and saved, alerting a payee to the termination of his or her support obligation. The program also features “non-parent custodian” options when a person other than a parent has custody of the child.

Other features include boxes to select for multiple jobs, additional deductions, child care expenses, and additional out-of-pocket expenses. About the  only drawback to CALC is that it does not calculate spousal support like the proprietary software programs.

Our attorneys have been trained in CALC. In addition, we have proprietary support software programs specifically designed to calculate both child and  spousal support.

If you have an issue that involves either the payment or the receipt of support, or if you would like to explore your options relative to a support obligation, our law firm offers a free consultation to answer your questions.