How are Support Orders Calculated in Michigan?

When a family goes through a divorce the court is careful to ensure that both parties incomes are considered to support the couple's children as well as each individual spouse in a fair and appropriate manner after the divorce is finalized. Here in Michigan this is often accomplished via child support and spousal support orders. Read on for a brief overview of how these two types of support orders are calculated under Michigan law.

Child Support

When a Michigan family law judge is tasked with determining how much child support should be awarded in connection with a particular divorce he/she must abide by Michigan's child support formula. This formula is quite complex but, in a nutshell, requires that each parent's child support obligation be figured by:

  1. Determining both parents' individual incomes

  2. How many overnights each parent is awarded, and then

  3. Calculating the components of each parent's support obligation, based on the formula.

This calculation takes into consideration a wide variety of factors in addition to the parents' incomes including; how many overnights the child spends with each parent annually, the number of children who will be supported by the order, applicable child care costs, relevant health care costs, etc. The formula takes many factors into consideration in the hopes of producing a child support award that is fair and appropriate given the circumstances. Therefore, Michigan law requires judges to award child support in accordance with the formula, unless doing so would be unfair or inappropriate given the divorcing family's unique circumstances. To learn more about the various circumstances under which the formula can be deviated from, check out our blog post When Can You Deviate From Michigan's Child Support Formula?

To get a rough idea of how much child support will likely be awarded in your case enter your information into the MiChildSupport Calculator on the Department of Health and Human Services' website, and then discuss the results with a local divorce attorney.

Spousal Support

Spousal support (also commonly referred to as "spousal maintenance" or "alimony") in Michigan differs from child support in that the law does not provide a specific formula that determines how much spousal support, if any, will be awarded in your case. Instead, family law judges in Michigan decide whether or not to award spousal support, and in what amount, on a case-by-case basis by considering several different factors including, but not limited to:

  • Who was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage,

  • How long the couple was married,

  • Each party's earning potential and ability to work,

  • The age of each spouse,

  • The financial resources and needs of each spouse,

  • The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the course of their marriage, and

  • What is fair and reasonable.

Contact a Local Divorce Attorney

As you can see, Michigan family law judges consider a great many factors when calculating child and spousal support orders. This area of the law is quite complex and, given the importance and impact that these orders can have on your post-divorce life, it is extremely important that anyone who is facing a divorce in Michigan contact an experienced divorce attorney such as Michael A. Robbins. To schedule a consultation at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins contact our Bloomfield Hills office today at (248) 646-7980.