As much as you love your children, you may have concerns about paying child support. Your monthly obligation will likely be a point of contention as you and your spouse divorce. You may disagree with their demands, especially if they do not reflect your income. By knowing how Michigan’s child support laws work, you can understand the contribution you will need to make.
In Michigan, you must pay child support until your children turn 18. Yet, they may not have completed high school by this age. So long as they remain a student and continue living with your spouse, you may have to provide it until they turn 19 1/2.
Your support obligation depends on a variety of factors, which the court will account for in a formula. Once a judge determines your obligation, you will receive a Uniform Child Support Order demanding you pay it each month. The factors that hold weight in their ruling include:
- The number of children you have
- The disparity between you and your spouse’s incomes
- The division of custody and parenting time between you and your spouse
- The number of overnights you have your children for each year
- Your children’s childcare and medical expenses
Once your support order is effective, you must be diligent about making payments every month. Failure to pay could lead to penalties, including garnishment of your wages or your state or federal tax refunds. If you develop a reputation for delinquency, you could face contempt of court charges for nonpayment. Yet, payment issues can also stem from financial challenges or rising living expenses. If your finances do not reflect your support order, you can motion to modify it. Doing so will not change the amount of any payments past due. But it could ease any barriers to payment going forward.
By working within Michigan’s laws, you can find a way for your children to survive and thrive without putting your finances at risk. An attorney with family law experience can help you reach a fair support obligation.