Michigan law recognizes that both parents have a financial responsibility to help raise their children, regardless of whether the parents are still in a relationship together or not. As such, the state imposes financial obligations on both parents during divorce proceedings and paternity cases. But as life goes on and each parent’s finances change, you may be wondering when it is appropriate to request changes to child support orders.
During the original custody or support case, you probably learned quite a bit about the Michigan Child Support Formula and applicable laws. The guidelines for payment consider the monthly incomes of the parents, along withs other factors. . Receiving more in salary might necessitate an increase in child support, but the change will not happen automatically. Taking action in court is necessary to modify the judge’s order, so you should rely on a Michigan child support attorney for help with the process.
Michigan Child Support and Modifications
In a family court matter, the judge is required to issue a Uniform Child Support Order (UCSO) that aligns with the factors listed in the statutory guidelines. There is an exception for when child support would be unfair or inappropriate by following the guidelines, so the judge can deviate to a lower or higher amount. Once signed by the judge, the USCO is legally binding and cannot be changed without additional legal action.
The child support guidelines are also the focus when seeking to modify the existing UCSO, and relevant factors include the monthly income of both parents. As such, your ex getting a higher paying job may be sufficient to justify a change. However, the situation may be different if the judge deviated from the statutory formula in entering the current UCSO: Modifying child support could actually decrease the amount if it was above the default to start.
What to Do When Seeking to Modify Child Support
The procedure for doing so is filing a Motion Regarding Support in Michigan family court. It is wise to retain an attorney’s help with such tasks as:
- Reviewing the current UCSO;
- Analyzing the child support guidelines to determine whether the increase in salary would support a modification;
- Preparing the Motion Regarding Support and supporting documentation;
- Negotiating with your ex and/or opposing counsel, since parents are free to enter into an agreement to change child support;
- Advocating on your behalf during mediation, if ordered by the court; and,
- Representing you at a contested hearing on modification of child support, which involves presenting evidence, questioning and cross-examining witnesses, and making arguments to support your position on modification.
Even when the change is justified by a factor like your ex’s new income, a successful modification request can result in substantial legal fees, so you should carefully weigh the benefits and costs of pursuing the modification.
Call Now to Speak to a Michigan Child Support Lawyer
To learn more about modifying child support based upon a salary increase or other change in circumstances, please contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins. We can set up a consultation with an attorney who can offer personalized advice and explain the next steps.