Michigan Child Support Guidelines

Child support generally is a parent’s court-ordered payment to help with the costs of raising a child. In Michigan, child support obligations normally last until the child turns 18 years old, but continue up until he or she turns 19½, if the child is still in high school and lives full-time with the parent that gets child support.

How to Begin the Child Support Process in Michigan

Either parent can begin the application process for child support by contacting the Michigan Human Services, Department of Child support. A parent can apply for Child Support Services online or can print out the application (PDF) and mail it to:

Michigan Office of Child Support
Central Functions Unit
P.O. Box 30744
Lansing, MI 48909

Note, if you or your children currently receive public assistance or have received assistance in the past, you should already have an open child support case.

What Guidelines will the Judge Follow to Determine Child Support?

The court determines child support amounts using the Michigan Child Support formula. This will typically include the general care and needs of a child, medical support, and any child care expenses. When it comes to medical coverage, each parent must pay for a percentage of the child's medical expenses, based on income. Each parent's share cannot be less than 10% or more than 90%.

Calculation of Support

The court uses a complicated mathematical guideline to determine how much support the non-custodial parent must pay to the custodial parent. This will include determing:

  • The parents’ incomes
  • Custody and parenting time arrangements
  • The number of children supported
  • Medical costs
  • Child care costs
  • Other factors

Uniform Child Support Order (UCSO)

Once the judge decides how much child support is appropriate, he or she will make it official with an order called a Uniform Child Support Order (UCSO). The court has to follow the Child Support formula when making the order, unless the result would be unfair or inappropriate. However, if the parents reach an agreement about the child support amount, the court can consider the agreement, but it does not have to approve it.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Michigan's Child Support laws. See also Child Custody, Child Support Modifications, and Child Support Enforcement.

Code Section MCL Section 552.603 et. seq.
Who is Responsible? Both parents.
How is Support Calculated? Michigan child support formula.
Factors

Guidelines are based upon the monthly income of both parents. Even if the parents are not working, the court may order them to pay child support. In some cases, both parents may be ordered to pay support for a child not in their care.

What is Included in a Support Order? Monetary support (food, clothing, & shelter), health insurance, basic education expenses. Also might include child care expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, visitation travel costs, and extracurricular activities.
How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support? Until the child reaches the age of 18 or 19 1/2 if he or she has not graduated high school and still lives full-time with the parent who gets support.
Local Child Support Offices

Michigan Department of Human Services, Office of Child Support, Michigan Friends of the Court, Michigan State Child Support Disbursement Unit

Michigan Child Support Formula Child Support Formula Manual

Because Michigan's child support laws can be complicated, it may be a good idea to consult an experienced Michigan family law attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.