Child Support. It is one issue that can slow down a divorce case. But there are five things that you should know about Michigan child support before you bring your divorce to a standstill over the amount of child support being proposed or ordered.
Child Support is controlled by statute.
In Michigan, child support is codified in law. It is known as the Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act, MCL 552.601 et seq. It was enacted in 1982. It has been modified six times since being enacted, with the last amendment happening in 2001.
Child Support is not modifiable retroactively.
Once the court has entered a child support order, it cannot be retroactively modified except for limited circumstances. MCL 552.603(2). This means once child support is due, the first of a month after an order has been entered, it cannot be modified after that due date. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. The first exception is when child support is ordered under a temporary order. MCL 552.603(3). Another exception is when the parties agree to a retroactive modification, and the court approves that agreement. MCL 552.603(5). Another exception is when the individual required by the Friend of the Court knowingly and intentionally fails to report, refuses to report, or knowingly misrepresents their income. In this situation, the court may retroactively correct the amount of support after notice and an opportunity to be heard. MCL 552.603b.
Filing a motion and providing notice to the other party can create a date for retroactive modification.
When you need to modify your child support order and the other party refuses, you can file a motion to modify child support and provide notice to the other party. This date becomes the first date that child support can be modified. This means that the court can retroactively modify the child support order to the date the motion was filed, and notice was provided to the other party. Therefore, whenever a change in your circumstances warrants a child support modification, you need to file a motion as soon as possible to preserve the date for retroactive modification.
Child support runs into the future.
A child support order runs into the future, but it is set on current factors. Your current situation will be used when determining a child support order amount. Your current income; ability to work or work more hours if unemployed or underemployed; any childcare expenses; any medical insurance premiums paid, filing status on tax returns, and the number of overnights exercised are all considered. However, life is never static, and neither should your child support order remain static. If there is a change in your circumstances, such as the number of overnights or your employment changes, it is time to consult with an attorney to determine if you need to seek a modification. If childcare ends or medical insurance is no longer paid, those amounts should be dropped from the child support calculations and the revised order.
Child support is for the support of your children.
Remember, child support is paid to help support your children. Your refusal to pay your child support impacts your children’s lives. If you have difficulty paying your child’s support, be upfront with the other parent. Open communication with the other parent may make requesting a support modification more uncomplicated.
If you need to modify your child support order, contact us today to learn about the different packages available to assist you. And visit our YouTube channel for more information on co-parenting, communication, and more.