Child support refers to a parent's court-ordered payments to help with the costs of raising a child. The extent of the support is determined by the guidelines provided by the laws of each state. In Michigan, child support obligations normally last until the child turns 18 years old, but can continue up until the age of 19½, if the child is still in high school and lives full-time with the parent that gets child support.
Starting the Child Support Process in Michigan
Either parent can begin the application process for child support by contacting the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). 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.
Child Support Calculations in Michigan
The court uses a complicated mathematical guideline to determine how much support the non-custodial parent must pay to the custodial parent, based on:
The MDHHS offers an online child support calculator, which can be used to provide you with an estimate of what your child support payments would be, assuming that all of the required information is entered accurately.
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 doesn't have to approve it.
Michigan Child Support Guidelines at a Glance
There's no doubt that it's important to read the actual text of a statute when conducting legal research. There's also a benefit, however, in reading a summary of the statute in plain English. In the following chart, you can find an overview of Michigan child support guidelines, as well as links to the relevant statutes.
Michigan Compiled Laws
|Who's Responsible?||Both parents.|
|How is Support Calculated?||
Child support is calculated based on the Michigan Child Support Formula.
|Factors in Determining Child Support Amounts||Guidelines are based upon the monthly income of both parents. Even if the parents aren't 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, and shelter), health insurance, basic education expenses. An order can also 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 19½ if he or she has not graduated high school and still lives full-time with the parent who gets support.
Michigan Compiled Laws
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Michigan Child Support Guidelines: Related Resources
For more information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links below:
Get Legal Help Understanding Michigan Child Support Guidelines
Child support laws tend to be complicated, particularly when it comes to child support calculations. If you need help understanding Michigan child support laws, it's best to contact a local child support lawyer who can explain how these laws apply to your particular situation.
Contact a qualified attorney.