Child Support


Rochester Michigan Family Law Lawyer Elizabeth Sadowski


The Michigan child support formula is used to calculate how much a parent should pay to support the children in the custody of the other parent. This formula takes into consideration the income of both the custodial and non-custodial parent. Sometimes there are exceptions to the formula based upon the specific facts of a case. Your lawyer can explain the formula and can also tell you about possible exceptions to the formula.

If a parent doesn't pay court-ordered child support in Michigan, this can lead to a contempt of court citation. Sometimes a parent may receive a jail sentence for non-payment of support. In some cases, a court will suspend the delinquent parent's occupational or driver's license. An order providing for immediate and automatic withholding of child support payments from any source of the payer's income is entered for every child support order paid through the Friend of the Court, unless the court orders otherwise or approves an agreement by the parties. The parties are allowed to "opt-out" of the Friend of the Court system if they wish, provided that no public assistance is being paid or is owed to a state.

In Oakland and Macomb Counties, the Friend of the Court will investigate and make recommendations about child custody, parenting time, and child support. The FOC will present a recommendation and temporary order to the court for entry. Once that order is entered, a party who disagrees with the recommendation must file an objection within 21 days. Then the court will schedule the case for mediation, will schedule a status conference, and, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own, a referee hearing will be scheduled. Because the procedures are different in other counties, it's important to discuss the court's expected procedure with your attorney.

Child support is usually based on a state-recommended formula. It's a rare event that the court will find any reason to deviate from the formula, however the state of Michigan's economy has meant that some parents need to relocate far away. It is not unusual for the courts to approve a child support payment that deviates from the formula in order to help the non-custodial parent facilitate the parent-child relationships through use of significant portions, if not all of the child support that might be awarded simply to accommodate the travel costs of exercising parenting time. Needless to say, the new formula, effective in October 2008 takes into consideration the percentage of parenting time spent with each parent. At the end of the day, many parents will agree upon little or no support in order to allow the other parent to facilitate parenting time. As long as both parents agree, the court will usually find this in the children's best interests.

 Generally, spousal and child support is based on need and ability to pay. The court may also take into consideration the lifestyles of the parties. Any party contesting a temporary order for child custody should become familiar with the eleven specific best interests factors listed in the Child Custody Act. A client should be prepared to assist his or her lawyer in assembling the facts, the witnesses, and the exhibits that will be used in a hearing on a contested issue. You should schedule an appointment with a temporary child custody lawyer to discuss the procedures and preparations for a contested case.

The tax exemptions for the minor children belong to the custodial parent ; however, sometimes the parties may agree that the noncustodial parent shall have some or all of the exemptions. Courts will usually honor these contractual obligations. If the judgment awards the exemptions to the noncustodial parent, that parent must obtain a signed Form 8332 from the custodial parent. That form is then filed with the noncustodial parent's other federal income tax forms. The child tax credit and the interest deduction and tax credits for post-secondary education may be claimed by the parent taking the dependency exemption. The exemption waiver may be revoked.

Child support is modifiable upon proof of a change in circumstances. A parent is entitled to a child support review every three years. Child support is usually ordered until the child attains the age of eighteen years, or graduates from high school, so long as the child has not yet reached nineteen years and six months and regularly attends high school on a full-time basis with a reasonable expectation of completing sufficient credits to graduate from high school while residing on a full-time basis with the payee of support or at an institution. Enforcement of child support payments may be sought by a motion in the Family Court.

To schedule an initial meeting with family lawyer Elizabeth Sadowski or just ask a question, call or send an e-mail today. You will find fact-gathering questionnaires on this website. Fill them out and mail them in to Ms. Sadowski's office or schedule an appointment and bring them with you.

Contact Rochester, Michigan divorce lawyer, Elizabeth Sadowski at (248) 652-4000  Email:  elizabeth.sadowski [at]

Family lawyer Elizabeth Sadowski serves clients throughout northern Oakland and Macomb Counties . © 2009 Elizabeth Sadowski

►  No fee referrals within Michigan and/or to other states’ attorneys

►  No initial consultation fee unless retained

This website is intended to provide only a brief overview of family law in Michigan. If you have any questions regarding your family law matter, contact me today. I will discuss your legal needs and provide you with information to protect you and your family for years to come.

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Elizabeth A. Sadowski, Family Lawyer
Colbert Shepard & Sadowski LLP
431 6th Street, Rochester, MI  48307
• E-mail: elizabeth.sadowski [at]
Telephone: (248) 652-4000  Telefax:  (248) 652-1259

Practice Areas: Divorce  Custody  Parenting Time  Child Support Post-Judgment Modifications  Paternity  Adoption  Personal Protection Orders  Spousal Support  Property Distribution  Pre-Nuptial / Post-Nuptial Agreements Estate Planning Guardianships/Conservatorships  Neglect/Abuse Cases 

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Copyright © 2009 Elizabeth A. Sadowski. All rights reserved

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