A common misunderstanding with our family law clients is how exactly child support is calculated in Michigan. Often parents believe that child support is based solely on just what they earn, and nothing more. This is not correct, as child support is based upon a number of considerations.
First, child support is often calculated by Friend of the Court and by attorneys with the help of a computer program. The following is a list of the information that is provided to that program in order for child support to be calculated:
- Number of minor children
- Tax filing status of both parents
- Tax exemptions for both parents
- Determination if either parent provides support for other children in their household
- The number of overnight stays that each parent has with each child (calculated separately)
- The amount of childcare that each parent pays, and for how many children
- The amount of health care premiums that each parent pays for the children
- The gross earnings of each parent
Obviously from the list above, one can see that child support is calculated on more than just what a parent earns.
There are also other factors that must be considered in more unique cases. Sometimes one parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, and it must be determined if income should be imputed to that parent for purposes of child support. Sometimes a parent is self-employed, and the calculation of income is more difficult.
It is important to discuss the issue of child support with an experienced family law lawyer so that you can truly understand the issues in your case, how child support is calculated, and whether or not you should seek an increase or decreased based upon all of those circumstances.