Grand Rapids Child Support Lawyer Helping Establish Payments for Divorcing Families
Child support is a parent’s court-ordered payment to help with the costs of raising a child. Child support normally stops when a child turns 18, but it can be extended under certain circumstances. Michigan law provides that children have the legal right to be financially supported by both parents. At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we can assist you with obtaining appropriate child support, modifying your support payments or enforcing your child’s right to receive the payments.
Michigan’s Child Support Guideline Manual
Michigan courts follow the Michigan Child Support Guideline Manual to determine the amount of child support to be paid in each case. Some of the factors the court considers are:
The court must order support according to the formula unless the result would be unfair or inappropriate. A common example of when the court deviates from the guidelines is when the child has special needs or extraordinary educational expenses.
Once the child support amount is determined, the court issues an order called a Uniform Child Support Order (UCSO), which requires the paying spouse to remit a monthly amount for child support. The monthly amount includes:
- Base support, plus or minus the amount that either parent pays for health care insurance premiums
- Child care
- Ordinary medical expenses
What if your spouse fails to pay the court-ordered child support?
All child support orders are enforceable under the law and an experienced divorce lawyers can help you with enforcement methods such as:
Some enforcement methods are available only to collect past-due support payments called arrearages. After a certain amount of arrearages accrue, the court can schedule a show cause hearing where the payer must show why he or she should not be held in contempt. Penalties for contempt may include any of the enforcement methods listed above plus fines, jail time and other penalties. The obligation to pay child support payments normally ends when a child reaches the age of majority or finishes high school, whichever is later, but not beyond age 19 and a half.
Child support modifications
Spousal support, child support, custody and parenting time arrangements can generally be modified, as either parent can file a motion to ask the court to modify an order. A Michigan court considers that request if there has been a substantial change in either spouse’s life that justifies altering the decree. Any of the following may qualify as a significant change:
- Substantial change in either spouse’s income or employment status
- A new health problem that impacts a spouse’s ability to work
- Relocation to a new geographic region
- Substance abuse problems or criminal activity
Contact a Grand Rapids child support attorney for an initial consultation
When you need to establish child support payments, enforce a payment order or modify an existing court order, call the Van Den Heuvel Law Office at 616-698-0000 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We provide flexible hours and we are conveniently located by M6. We are also available on Skype by appointment.