Child Support Lawyer


Child support can be a complicated issue in the state of Michigan.  Often, a child support lawyer will be involved to help you navigate the legal process.

Child support is a parent’s court-ordered fee to support the expenses of raising a child. Usually, child support will stop when a child reaches the age of 18. However, a court can and may order additional support for a child between the age of 18 to 19 1/2 if the child:

  • Goes to high school full-time
  • Has a reasonable expectation of graduating
  • Lives with the parent or an institution that a child gets his support from full-time

Child support includes a base amount and additional health and child care costs. A judge can order child support in a:

  • Paternity Case
  • Custody Case (if the parents did not get married)
  • Divorce Case
  • Support Case

It is a child’s legal right to get financial support from both parents. No parent can avoid paying for child support just by agreeing not to have visitation rights or their parental rights terminated.

Who will pay for child support?

The Michigan Child Support Formula will determine which parent will pay the child support, as well as its support amount based on given factors which include each parent’s income, and the number of nights a year that a child spends with each of his parents.

The term “payer” is used to describe the person or parent paying for the child support, while the person receiving child support is called “payee.” However, should the child ever get any assistance from the public or government, it is possible for the child support payments to go to the state instead of the payee.

What is the computation for child support?

To determine the total amount needed for child support, the guide used is the Michigan Child Support Formula. These are the factors that support the amount given:

  • Both incomes of parents
  • The number of nights per year or “overnights” the child spends with each parent
  • The number of children supported
  • Health care expenses
  • Childcare costs
  • Other factors deemed relevant by the court

The court handling the case must order support from the parents according to the Michigan Child Support Formula unless the results of the total child support amount are unfair. However, if the parents have reached a settlement wherein the child support amount is acceptable to both parties, they may consider the deal, but does not necessarily have to approve of it.

If the amount both parents have agreed on is different from the Michigan Child Support Formula, the Uniform Child Support Order Deviation Addendum must be filled out, and be filed together with your form, Uniform Child Support Order.

To know the estimated support amount for your case, use the MiChildSupport Calculator on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ official website.

How to collect child support payments?

Both the Michigan State Disbursement Unit or MiSDU, and the Friend of the Court or FOC are working together in collecting and distributing child support payments. There are also cases wherein MiSDU forwards the automatically-withheld child support payments from the payer’s wages directly to the payee. If paid in such a manner, both the payer and the payee get a copy of the income withholding order.

While there are also cases wherein getting an income withholding is not possible due to the payer being self-employed, there are other payment options which include payer making payments directly to the MiSDU. If payments were not made directly to the MiSDU and both payer and payee have agreed to an alternative payment arrangement, the payee must notify the FOC for payer to be appropriately credited for the payment made.

For convenience, child support payments can also be settled by using PayNearMe to know the nearest 7-Eleven, CVS, Family Dollar Store, and Wal-Mart near you with a convenience fee of about $1.99-$3.99.

Enforcing child support

Whether the child support order is ex parte, a modification of a previous order, temporary, or final, such laws are enforceable.

To collect late support payments or “arrearages,” enforcement methods may be used, such as:

  • Withholding income from a payer’s wages
  • Placing a claim on a payer’s personal property
  • Garnishing state and federal tax refunds
  • Suspending driver’s, occupational, sporting, and/or recreational licenses

Contempt proceedings

The Friend of the Court or payee can file a Motion to Show Cause if a certain amount of arrearages have built up. If the court has decided that a payer can pay a percentage or the total amount owed, the payer may be held in contempt of court with jail time and fines as the common penalties.

Imputing income

Should a parent opt to eliminate or reduce their income, the court may decide that they can earn more. The court may calculate and order support based on imputed or potential revenue that the payer may make. While this is not the total amount received, it is the possible income that a parent may receive from the court.

Social Security benefits

It is possible for child support payments to be withheld depending on the type of Social Security that a parent receives.

What is Social Security Disability (SSD)?

Social Security Disability or SSD is a benefit paid to people with disabilities. The total amount of SSD will be based on a person’s past earnings. Depending on how much the person has earned in the past, the more work history they have, the more benefits they will receive. If the parent’s income is only from SSD, the court can order the parent to pay for child support.

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a program that the elderly or people with disabilities with low income or limited resources receive every month. While the standard SSI amount is the same nationwide, the state of Michigan adds additional money to the said benefit. If the parent’s income is only from SSI, the court cannot force the parent to pay for child support.

Contact the Law Office of Lawrence J. Coogan today

The Law Office of Lawrence J. Coogan has highly skilled family attorneys that will eagerly assist you in all your legal worries. We will send a response to your query within the day.

For urgent concerns, you can call us at 313-381-0044. We’ll assist you with any questions that you have about child support.

Our offices are open on weekdays starting at 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturdays by appointment.