You may have questions about child support during your divorce. Perhaps your friends, associates and family members have told you that the court will keep tabs on how you spend the money. Your ex may have said you are supposed to provide him or her with receipts or may even have a list of expenditures he or she deems acceptable to spend child support on. Understandably, you are probably feeling some anxiety if you are hearing these claims.

Fortunately, these statements are untrue, as FindLaw explains. While it is true that child support is meant for the physical and emotional well-being of your children, you retain control over how to spend the money and what you deem appropriate for your children’s benefit. For example, you may use child support in the following ways:

  • Food, clothing and other necessities
  • Utilities and housing expenses
  • School supplies, tuition and extracurricular activities
  • Doctor copays and prescriptions
  • Savings for emergencies or college funds
  • A birthday present, movie ticket or restaurant meal with your child

You are not required to show the court your spending habits, nor must you give your ex-spouse receipts or submit to his or her child support spending demands. Your obligations are to ensure your children have a safe, secure place to grow up in, to keep them healthy and to build happy memories with them. Child support can contribute to each of these concerns. Since family law issues can be complex, the information in this blog is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

How can my child support order be modified?

Getting divorced is often a painful process. From the emotional fallout of the dissolution of your primary relationship to the financial impact of splitting your assets, much of what happens isn’t pleasant. Many times, it can feel like child support amounts are not fair. It can be tempting, particularly in cases where you don’t agree with the custody or visitation agreements, to make partial payments or withhold child support. If you don’t agree with your child support amount, you should retain the services of an experienced divorce and family law attorney as soon as possible.

How does Michigan determine child support amounts?

Michigan uses a formula to determine the amount of support that is appropriate for a family’s situation. Mostly, it is based on the income of the non-custodial parent. It also considers the length of the marriage, the standard of living, the needs of the children involved, and the income for the custodial spouse. The temporary support and custody orders in place while you are divorcing often take into consideration only information provided by the spouse filing for divorce. This could mean that there is information that the Friend of the Court isn’t aware of that could result in a changed support order.

Temporary child support orders aren’t forever

It can feel like the time between filing and the finalization of your divorce is interminable, but in reality, it will last between six months and a year or more. During that time, unless you formally request a change or modification to your temporary child support order, you will be expected to pay the amount in your temporary order. Trying to have that amount changed on your own is difficult.

When emotions are high, we are often not our own best advocates. An attorney can present your situation calmly and appropriately to the courts, helping to ensure fairness in the divorce process.

Will I receive less child support payments when I remarry?

When you have been through a divorce or separation and you coparent your children with your former partner, it is likely that you receive child support payments to help you to pay for the basics of raising your children. These child support payments were probably put in place at the time of your divorce or separation. They can be amended when circumstances change, for example when the parent paying the child support loses a job.

If you — as the person receiving the child support — are planning on getting married, you may be wondering whether this will mean that changes will be made in regard to the child support order. It is important that you take time to understand how the law works in regard to child support in the state of Michigan so that you can be confident in your rights and take action when necessary.

Will child support orders be affected when I remarry?

Child support orders take into account only the financial situations of the two parents involved. In the majority of situations, any remarriages will not affect the order that has been placed in regard to child support. Usually a child support order is made based on a simple calculation of parental income. However, appeals can be made if one parent believes that the order in question is unfair or unjust based on the specific circumstances.

Can I decide that I no longer want to receive child support when I remarry?

If you think that you no longer want to receive child support from the other parent when you remarry, you can consider taking action. While it is possible to do this, it may be seen as an opportunity to distance yourself and your child from your former partner. Even if you do not need the child support for basic purchases, your child will likely benefit from the child support when it is put to good use. It could be put in a college fund, for example, so that it can be used in the future.

If you have concerns or questions about how child support works in the state of Michigan, it is important to conduct adequate research and take action when you believe it to be necessary.

An experienced divorce attorney can help

Retaining the services of an experienced divorce attorney is one of the best ways to ensure that custody and child support orders are fair for everyone involved. If your child support amount is too high, your attorney can request a hearing to consider evidence and potentially modify your child support. They can advocate on your behalf, ensuring that your documentation is properly presented to the right parties. They can also provide you with guidance and advice about your custody and visitation arrangement.

Going through a divorce is a difficult transition. Partnering with an experienced divorce attorney can help to make it easier. If you don’t agree with your child support or custody arrangements, you should speak with a divorce attorney as soon as possible.