In the State of Michigan, child support is established reviewing several factors. These factors are entered into a software program, used to calculate who will pay support, and how much they will pay. The party paying support is known as the payor, and the party receiving support is known as the payee.
The following is a quick breakdown of the major factors used to calculate a child support obligation:
1. Income of the parties. The gross income of the parties is entered and the software program calculates the party’s net income (net income means all income minus the tax deductions). The list is much more comprehensive than what is included here. But, for the purpose of this blog it includes the most common types of income. Income includes wages, overtime pay, commissions, bonuses, tips, military specialty pay (to include allowances for quarters and rations). If one party owns a business, all earnings generated from a business are considered. And, any distributed profits or payments from profit-sharing, a pension or retirement are considered. In essence, if you earn it, it is considered income for the purpose of calculating child support.
2. Child Care Expense. The actual cost of child care is entered into the software program to allocate each parent’s percentage share of that obligation. The more child support being paid, the more child support that will be paid by the payor. The actual cost of child care must be documented and a form must be completed by the daycare provider.
3. Health Care Coverage Premiums. Is one or both parties paying for health insurance for the minor children? If so, that party is given credit in the software program for the amount being paid for the premium associated with the health care for the minor children (not the total premium: what they pay in total for themselves and the minor children).
4. Additional children from other relationships. If one party has children from another relationship (with someone other than the other parent in the case under consideration), then they are given a “second family” credit. These children must be living in that parent’s household or that parent must be paying child support for them in order to be given the second family credit.
5. Tax Credits. Who will be claiming the tax exemption credits for the minor children? This information is used in the software program as another factor in calculating the payor’s child support obligation.
6. The number of overnights each of the parties will be exercising. It is no secret that in the State of Michigan, the more overnights exercised by the payor, the less child support the payor will be required to pay.
As this subject matter is very complex, and this blog does not discuss all factors used to calculate child support, it is important to discuss this matter with a skilled family law attorney. For more information about child support, contact me, Laurie Schmitt, Attorney at Law, at Schmitt Law, PLLC, by calling 616-310-4975.