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How will your child custody order affect your child support?

When one parent has sole physical or residential custody of a child, the other parent is typically required to pay child support to the custodial parent. This is because, in Michigan, all parents are required to support their children, and custodial parents meet this obligation by having custody.

However, when parents share physical custody of their children after a divorce or split, they often wonder how this will affect child support rights or obligations.

Child support is calculated using the Michigan Child Support Formula, which takes into account:

  • Each parent's income, including bonuses, commissions and more
  • Child care and health care expenses
  • The number of overnight stays the child has with each parent
  • Number of children
  • Day care costs
  • Other factors

Child support is generally awarded to the parent who has more overnight stays, but the exact amount of child support depends on each specific number that is put into the state's formula.

If your child support order becomes outdated because your child custody arrangement has changed or one parent's income has shifted significantly, it may be possible to modify the order.

Whether you are establishing child support for the first time or are in need of modifying an existing order, an experienced attorney can help you protect your interests. While the state uses a mathematical formula to calculate child support, it is still far from a black and white process. Exactly what numbers go into the formula as well as your parenting plan can be up for debate; additionally, in some cases it is possible to deviate from the formula. 

With skilled legal counsel, you can focus on coming up with a child custody and child support plan that works for you and your family.

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