Will the Court Consider Non-overnight Parenting Time When Calculating Child Support?
Typically in Michigan the court will only consider overnight parenting time when calculating child support. This is because the Michigan Child Support Formula considers only the following specific factors: the income of the parties, health insurance provided by either parent for the children, child care or daycare expenses until August after a child's twelve birthday and the number of overnights the children spend with each parent.
However, in most cases it is worthwhile to check the guidelines manual (which is available online, just google it). The manual provides a variety of reasons why a parent may ask the court to "deviate" from the guidelines. The manual states that in cases where a lawyer can convince the court that the application of the formula to a particular case would lead to an unjust or inappropriate amount, the court may consider a list of other factors which would allow the court to order more or less child support than the formula mandates. The manual then provides a list of twenty-one (21) potential reasons that the court is allowed to consider when an attorney requests that the court "deviate" from the child support amount as determined by application of the formula.
One of the listed factors, number sixteen (16), is where the parent provides a substantial amount of a child's day-time care and directly contributes toward a significantly greater share of the child's costs that those reflected by the overnights used to calculate the offset for parenting time. I recently used this as the basis to obtain a lower amount of child support for my client. In that case, the parent worked the night-shift so she was not able to stay with the child overnight. Instead, the parent would pick the child up from school every day, do homework with the child, feed the child dinner, etc. When the other parent was done with work, he would pick-up the child after dinner, put the child to bed and take the child to school in the morning. The parties then alternated weekend parenting time from Friday to Monday morning.
In this case, it is relatively easy to see why it was appropriate for the court to order a different amount of child support based upon the circumstances. However, by statute the court is mandated to follow the child support formula and it will do so unless one hires good counsel that is able to recognize that this is a situation which the courts and legislature have specifically allowed the court to "deviate" from the formula and demand that the court does. If you are concerned about family law issues, such as divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, alimony or property division, please contact my assistant, Cathy, at 248-6608-4123 to schedule a consultation or contact us through the web site.