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How child support is calculated in Michigan

Financial support paid by noncustodial parents to support their children is a well-established institution in Michigan and every other state. Support can also be required for an unmarried father who conceived a child but does not live with the child's mother. In those cases, a paternity test is usually done to determine if the father is the child's biological father. A father also can sign an agreement that admits paternity and thus recognizes him as the biological father. Child support is required so that a child is not deprived of the basics of life, including shelter, food, health care and an education.

To calculate child support, courts determine the net income of both parents. Once the income is determined, various factors are considered, such as mandatory employment expenses, other support orders and adopted children. Michigan's child-support formula is based on state and federal laws, but it can be adjusted under special circumstances. Judges have latitude to deviate from the state's child-support formula, depending on the situation, but will have to explain the reason behind any decision to alter support.

In addition, visitation schedules are considered, including the number of nights a child spends in each parent's home. When it comes to health-care expenses, both parents are required to maintain health-care coverage for their child. The cost of insurance premiums is often divided between the parents.

Parents should also take note that even though they do not have income as of the moment, they can still be expected to pay child support. Courts also can determine if a person has intentionally reduced income. If so, a court can determine the earning potential of that person and calculate the amount of child support. Accordingly, readers who are in the middle of child-support disputes should speak with a knowledgeable legal professional as soon as possible.

Source: Mi.gov, "Facts about the Michigan child support formula," accessed on Nov. 12, 2014

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