When considering a divorce or separation, issues involving the children are often the primary consideration. In some cases, there are multiple concerns about custody, parenting time and child support while in others these can be worked out relatively amicably and smoothly with the assistance of counsel. In the case of young children, childcare can be one of the many things that should be taken into account. This blog is intended to handle the limited issue of how divorce courts in Michigan typically handle basic childcare costs or expenses, if you have specific questions regarding your own situation, contact us to schedule a consultation by calling (248) 608-4123 or through our website.
Childcare is Included in the Michigan Child Support Formula and Guidelines.
Child support in Michigan is determined by the use of a formula. The formula basically takes into account the number of overnights the child has with each parent, the total income of each parent, health insurance premium payments paid on behalf of a child by one parent and the costs of childcare. The child support formula essentially bakes the costs of childcare into the child support payments. The formula makes the assumption that one parent will pay for all of the childcare expenses incurred for the child, then the other parent essentially reimburses the other as part of the overall monthly child support obligation. Each parent is basically responsible for a percent of the total costs of the childcare of the childcare expense. The percent is determined by each parent's income, for example, if each parent earns $100,000 annually in income, then they would each pay 50% of the childcare expense. Due to potential fluctuations in childcare expenses or for convenience, some divorcing parents will agree to just directly pay the childcare provider their own share of the childcare expense. Childcare costs are only included in the formula and handled in this manner until August after the child reaches his or her 12th birthday, after that, absent agreement, each parent is 100% responsible for payment of any childcare costs that they incur during their own parenting time
What is Considered Childcare for Purposes of the Child Support Formula?
This is a question that comes up with regards to certain activities or experiences that are essentially childcare but are not technically childcare, summer camps and preschool are really the prime examples. The answer unfortunately is that it may very well depend on your judge. Some judges will look at the child support formula very strictly and order that only childcare as such should count and that camps or preschool are outside of the scope of the formula, while other judges will take a more pragmatic approach and include such things in the analysis. Probably the best way to handle this potential issue is to be proactive about it and spell it out in the judgment of divorce. Many parents will agree to equally share the costs of camp, extracurricular activities, sports, class trips and other similar activities so long as the same are agreed upon before the child is enrolled in the activity. There are many other issues that can arise regarding just childcare, such as who should be the childcare provider and how much is reasonable to to spend. If you have questions about a potential divorce or separation, please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation through our website or by calling (248) 608-4123.