How Parenting Time Affects a Child Support Order in Michigan

When filing a motion for child support in Michigan, it is important to understand exactly which factors affect child support.

One of the most important steps that you can take is figuring out exactly how parenting time affects a child support order in Michigan. This will allow you to know exactly how much to request and if there is any convincing evidence you can provide in support of your case.

Keep reading to learn more about how the initial support order is calculated and how everything from child custody issues to your physical health can affect the arrangement. Contact us today at (313) 513-1919 to schedule a free consultation with a child support lawyer in Dearborn and learn how we can help you achieve a balanced and fair child support arrangement.

Overview of Child Support Guidelines in Michigan

In the state of Michigan, child support is calculated using the Michigan Child Support Formula. The base formula is the following:

{A + [B x (C - D)]} x E = G

This formula considers multiple factors including base support

  • (A), marginal percentage
  • (B), monthly net family income
  • (C), monthly income level
  • (D), and the parent's percentage share of family income
  • (E). This equation equals out to show the base support obligation (G).

After the base support obligation is calculated, other factors will be considered like parenting time and any extenuating circumstances.

Factors Considered

Multiple relevant factors are considered in child support. First and foremost, both the income of each parent and legal custody or the parenting time schedule will be considered. If one parent has sole custody, they are typically not required to pay any child support since they are directly paying most of the child's expenses.

Learn More: How Child Support Enforcement Works

Other factors that may be considered include any special medical care needs and any additional children that either parent has.

Relationship Between Parenting Time and Child Support

In the state of Michigan, the parenting time agreement can significantly affect each parent's child support obligations. After the base support calculations are done with the Michigan child support formula, the parenting schedules are factored in.

If one parent has the child 6 nights out of the week and the other only has them for one night, then it is assumed that the parent with more nights is contributing more money to the child during parenting time. For this reason, their support obligations will be lowered. 

Income Shares Model

In the state of Michigan, they follow an "income shares" model. This means that depending on the income of each parent, they will be responsible for a portion of support based on that. For example, if one parent earns twice as much money as the other, they will be responsible for 2/3 of the support whereas the parent that earns less will only be responsible for 1/3. 

a man paying child support to his ex wife

Shared Parenting Time Arrangements

When the parenting time schedule or legal custody includes a fairly equal arrangement between the two parents, this can make child support harder to decide. Since both parents are spending reasonable parenting time with the child, it can be assumed that both are equally contributing to the cost of child care. 

In the case of one custodial parent and one noncustodial parent, support is fairly simple to calculate. However, when there is true joint custody and both parents are contributing equally, that requires a bit more nuance. In this case, child support will usually be paid to the parent who earns less to ensure a relatively equal standard of living in both residences. 

Deviations from Standard Child Support Guidelines

In Michigan law, certain factors allow for deviation from the standard child support guidelines that have already been mentioned. For example, if one of the parents is disabled and unable to earn an income on a long-term basis, the court may decide that the parent does not need to support childcare costs. 

FAQ: What Does Child Support Cover?

The exercise of parenting time will also be one of the most important determining factors for the child support payment. If one parent is not following the parenting time schedule and taking the child on their standard schedule days, the court system may decide to increase their child support as a result.

Modifying Child Support Orders Based on Parenting Time Changes

If parenting time arrangements change in a way that would affect child support arrangements, a motion will need to be filed for them to be modified. A skilled child custody lawyer will be able to handle the complexities of child support modification for you and make sure that you are paying the appropriate amount of support.

When you go to request a modification, you will want to make sure that you have enough evidence of the change in parenting time. If it was a court-ordered change, you will simply need the documentation documenting that. If the change occurred outside of the legal system you will want to make sure that you have adequate documentation for that change. 

Whenever you are initially establishing the division of child care expenses and or requesting a child support modification, it is crucial to work with an experienced family law attorney for assistance. 

They will understand the ins and outs of filing a motion with a family law judge and will ensure the best possible outcome for both you and your children. 

Our Firm is Here to Help With Child Support

In Michigan, there is a direct relationship between parenting time and child support calculations. In the case of only one parent having legal custody, the non-custodial parent is the one who has to pay support to the custodial parent. With joint custody situations, there is more nuance, but in most cases, the parent with less time will end up paying child support to the other parent. 

Anytime that you are dealing with child support proceedings, and especially if there are special circumstances involved, you should seek professional legal help from a Dearborn family lawyer.

If you are located in Michigan and dealing with a child support case, contact us at (313) 513-1919 for a free consultation.

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