How Much Will You Get? Determining Child Support

In divorce cases litigated in Michigan, the amount of child support is determined by a formula developed by the State office of the Friend of the Court. In most cases, we have no say in the amount of support after providing documentation of income sources.

What Is Child Support?

Support is given by one parent to the other to financially provide for their children
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Child support is the term for money paid by one parent to the other to help provide for their children.

Support is intended to cover day-to-day living expenses, such as shelter and food costs, and includes components for health insurance, healthcare expenses, and childcare.

Plus, it divides the financial responsibility for the children between parents based on each parent’s monthly net income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. 

The Differences in Collaborative Divorce

In Collaborative Divorce cases, however, we embark on a conversation between the divorcing parents to determine not only their own living expenses, but also the expenses attributable to the children specifically.

The parents can evaluate the amount determined by applying the Child Support Formula against their real-life expenses. Then, they make a decision if it is appropriate to deviate from the Formula.

The parents can also decide if they can arrange the children’s budget in a more creative and equitable fashion. 

Here’s How it Happens in Litigated Divorces

Child support is determined on the basis of income, budget and parenting time
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In a Court-based, litigated divorce, the amount of support can deviate from the Formula IF it is in the best interests of the child. However, proving this is difficult, cumbersome, and costly. Divorcing couples only achieve deviation in Court where the parties actually agree on the issue. 

When a couple decides to divorce, they must accept that child support is a simple formula in which they have little to no say. However, the process they choose for divorce can make a difference in how support is decided. 

Check out this resource from the state of Michigan for more information.

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