There can be no doubt that raising a child is expensive, which is why lawmakers have established a Michigan Child Support Formula as a guideline for calculating the obligation for both parents. Courts are required to apply this formula when setting child support, and it takes into account such factors as parental income, other children a parent may be supporting, and the schedule for parenting time. The statute anticipates that inflation and other economic factors will impact child support, so the formula may be subject to change periodically.
However, child support laws also include provisions on how changes in the lives of individual parents. Your circumstances may be very different now from when the child support order was entered, so both payor and recipient could have reasons to request alteration. It is important to retain a Michigan post-judgment modifications attorney who can advise you on the relevant concepts and assist with the legal requirements. Plus, some background may help you understand the basics on how to request changes to child support.
Common Reasons for Changing Child Support Obligations
Few things in life will stay the same indefinitely, so you can see how parties on both sides of the child support issue may seek to alter the court’s order.
The paying parent might request that the support obligation be decreased after becoming unemployed or suffering some other loss of income. The need to support other children may also be reasons to seek modification.
As the recipient, you could also experience employment or life changes that impact your ability to provide for the child. Plus, it may be necessary to alter support if the needs of the child have changed. Examples include new realities for education and extracurricular activities, particularly when the child grows older.
Legal Process for Seeking Child Support Modification
A parent can ask the court to review child support obligations every three years, at which point the terms may be changed because of economic factors. However, you must go through the proper legal channels if you want to make changes outside this time period. The process involves filing a petition, in which you state the facts and allegations to support the child support modification. Under Michigan law, the standard is whether there has been a significant change in circumstances that would justify altering support. If the judge determines that the modification is appropriate, the new child support obligation will be calculated according to the statutory formula.
Note that you cannot unilaterally modify child support, so it is critical to comply with the court’s order unless and until it is modified. You could face harsh penalties for failure to pay.
A Michigan Child Support Lawyer Can Advise You on Modifications
While an overview about the laws and legal process is helpful, this information should also convince you about the importance of retaining skilled representation. For additional details, please contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to set up a consultation. Once we assess your circumstances, we can advise you on strategies.