Michigan Child Support Calculator
Improving Advocacy in Michigan Family Law©
Infrequently Asked Questions
If we didn't talk about your specific situation in the help text, you might find the answer to your question below. If you don't see the answer to your question below, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we might add it to our Infrequently Asked Questions.
Q. My child's father/mother isn't complying with parenting time. Do I still have to pay child support?
A. Yes. Child support and parenting time aren't tied. You have to bring the parenting time issue before the court. In the meantime, you must continue to pay your support.
Q. I pay child support and I lost my job. My child's father/mother has agreed to accept a lower amount. We're good, right? I don't need to go back to court?
A. No...until the court has modified your child support order, you are liable for the full amount. Even if you agree on a different amount, you must motion the court to make the change.
Q. Who pays the tax on the child support?
A. The personal paying the child support pays taxes on it. The person who receives the support pays no tax on it.
Q. My child's other parent is threatening to file for bankruptcy, and says that I'll never get any child support. Is that true?
A. No. Child support obligations are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. You can still try all the enforcement avenues available.
Q. I have to pay child support until the kids are how old?
A. Until the child is 18, or 19 1/2 if the child is still in high school with a reasonable expectation of graduating.
Q. I make more, and pay child support, but they have a better standard of living than I do! It's not fair!
A. The purpose of child support is to compensate the receiving parent so that they can spend on the kids like they would be able to if the kids had married, living-together parents. The question is not what single parents actually spend on kids, but what married parents ought to spend on children. So it's quite possible that a non-custodial parent, or a parent with less parenting time, compensates the receiving parent to a standard of living that is higher than the payor's standard of living.
Q. Do I have to pay for college?
A. In the State of Michigan, no, unless you agree with the other parent, and that agreement is part of a court order.
Q. What do you mean by custody?
A. There is physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to who is supposed to physically have the child with them. Legal custody refers to who has the right to make decisions about the child's upbringing, like where they go to school, whether they participate in various extracurricular activities, etc.. Custody can be granted to either parent, or to both parents.
Q. What if we have joint legal custody, and we can't agree on where to send the child to school? I should get to decide because I have primary physical custody, right?
A. No. If you have joint legal custody, you both have the right to make that decision. If you cannot agree, you will have to motion the court and have a hearing about the best interests of the child.
Q. Can we agree on custody and parenting time, or does the court decide?
A. Yes, you can reach an agreement on a custody arrangement. If you agree to a joint custody arrangement, the court must order joint custody, unless the court decides that joint custody isn't in the child's best interests.
Q. What if we can't agree on custody?
A. The court will decide what's in the "best interests of the child." They decide using the following factors, which are outlined in MCL 722.23: "best interests of the child" means the sum total of the following factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined by the court:
(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute."
Q. My child doesn't like going with the other parent. Do they have to?
A. As long as there is a court-order that grants them parenting time, yes. But remember that you're required to promote a positive relationship between your child and the other parent. Are you encouraging these feelings in your child? If so, that could be grounds for the other parent to seek a change in parenting time. Tread carefully.
Q. I pay child support. The other parent just wastes the money on themselves. What can I do?
A. Nothing. The person receiving support does not have to prove they spent the money on the kids. They don't even have to spend the money on the kids. They can spend it on themselves, or not at all.
Q. If my child's parent owes me child support, and the child turns 18, are they off the hook?
A. No. They owe you until they pay.