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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, March 22, 2019

What are Temporary Child Support Orders?

Parents are expected to support their child financially even though the parents may divorce or are not in a relationship with each other. Not being with a child’s other parent or not having primary care of the child does not relieve a person’s responsibility to care for the child. Some parents are taken by surprise when they show up to court, and the judge orders them to pay child support. Michigan child support attorneys can help parents ensure they are paying or receiving the correct amount of child support on a temporary and permanent basis.

How is Child Support Calculated in Michigan?

Michigan courts calculate child support obligations based on the Michigan Child Support Formula, which is updated periodically to reflect economic changes. The amount of child support is based on several factors including:

  • The needs of the child, including the costs of raising a child at the parents’ income level;
  • The income and resources of each parent;
  • Who has custody of the child;
  • The amount of parenting time with each parent;
  • The number of children to be supported; and,
  • Division of child care expenses and health care costs.

Judges may deviate from the child support guidelines, but the judge must explain the deviation from the child support guidelines. Child support payments are paid through the Michigan State Disbursement Unit unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Why Does the Court Use Temporary Child Support Orders?

Temporary orders are typically issued to resolve issues in the short term until the parties can provide additional, detailed evidence and arguments at a later hearing. In cases of child support, the court issues the temporary order to ensure that both parents are supporting their child financially and the needs of the child are being met while the divorce action or other court action is pending.

If a temporary order is issued ex parte, meaning the other party was not given notice of the hearing or a chance to respond, the party has 14 days to object to the order. The ex parte order remains in effect until a hearing can be held on the matter. If the other party does not object, the ex parte order becomes a temporary order and remains in effect until the court grants a final order.

Unfortunately, a parent often falls behind in child support payments because there is a delay between the filing of the court action or divorce complaint and the entry of a temporary order for child support. If a parent wants to avoid this situation, the parent can voluntarily pay the other parent directly. However, the payor should obtain a written receipt for each payment to receive credit for these payments against any child support arrearage that may have accumulated before the temporary order was issued.

Working with Michigan Child Support Attorneys to Protect Your Rights

Child support calculations can be a complicated factor in a divorce action. Contact Michigan child support attorney Cameron C. Goulding to discuss your options. Working with Michigan child support attorneys from the beginning of your action may avoid the necessity of filing motions to modify child support payments because of an error or omission. Working with an attorney can also help you protect your legal rights and the best interests of your child.


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