In Michigan, child support is strictly determined by a formula according to statute. The statute requires the court to use a formula to calculate child support based upon the income of each parent and the number of overnights the children have with each parent. The formula also provides an additional sum to the parent that has more overnights to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses and deductibles for the children and a credit to the parent that covers the children's health insurance. Finally, for children under the age of twelve (12), the formula will reimburse a parent for a portion of his or her verifiable work related child care payments. This is how child support is calculated by the Friend of the Court. Without an attorney, these are really the only factors the court will consider in calculating child support.
However, child support is a statutory creation which means that a parent is only entitled to child support based upon the laws that the Michigan legislature has created. A close review of the statutes that taken together mandate how child support is calculated reveals that there are certain specific instances in which the court may deviate from the amount of support determined by the formula. When one looks at all of the child support related statutes it is clear that the court has the discretion to deviate from the formula for specific enumerated reasons.
The very first reason a court may order more child support than the formula would otherwise allow is where "strict application of the formula may produce an unjust or inappropriate result in cases where the child has special needs". In such cases, an experienced divorce lawyer should be able to produce evidence to the court of the need for additional child support. A parent should not have to worry that a divorce will comprise his or her ability to continue to provide the best care for his or her child and this includes any additional costs that are required to help a child with special needs. In such instances it is imperative to have an attorney that understands the law and has the ability to help obtain the additional funds that are necessary to help provide the appropriate care for a child. If you have questions about child support in a specific case or about divorce in general, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation, (248) 608-4123 or [email protected].