Some of the most contentious issues in Michigan divorces involve children. Unfortunately, children are often the ones who are most adversely affected by acrimonious divorces. Some parents do not understand that child support is being paid for the benefit of their children rather than their former spouses. Other parents use their children and child support issues as weapons during a paternity determination or after a divorce. When dealing with a contentious child support dispute, it helps to be represented by an experienced family law attorney. If you believe that you may need to pay or receive child support, Grand Rapids and Traverse City child support attorney Kelly Neumann and the Neumann Law Group are ready to help you.Understanding Child Support Obligations in Michigan
Children in Michigan are entitled to financial support from both of their parents. Parents may not opt out of support by agreeing to have their parental rights terminated or by eliminating visitation. The Michigan Child Support Formula provides the method by which child support is calculated. It considers the incomes of both parents, who has custody, what the parenting time arrangement is, child care costs, medical costs, how many children need support, and other relevant factors. The court is supposed to order support according to the formula, except when the outcome would be unfair.
Sometimes, the parents may reach an agreement about how much child support is necessary. The court may consider this agreement, but it is not compelled to approve it. Usually, it helps to hammer out the agreement with the help of attorneys to make sure that your agreement is within the ballpark of the formula so that the court is more likely to approve it.
Child support is usually ordered in connection with divorces, paternity cases, and support cases. A court's Uniform Child Support Order typically includes a base amount as well as ordinary medical expenses and childcare costs. It may also include health insurance premiums. The order should specify how extraordinary medical expenses or uninsured costs should be handled. When child support is ordered, the order usually applies until a child turns 18. However, it may continue until age 19½ when a child remains in high school and lives full-time with a parent receiving child support or when a child is still in high school and lives in an institution. Parents with a disabled child who will likely need support well beyond the age of majority may need to seek a longer term of support.
Over the course of a child's life, a parent's financial situation may change significantly. If you are either paying or receiving child support, and you experience a substantial change in your financial circumstances, you may request a modification of the child support order. This order will not be effective retroactively, so it is important to consult a lawyer as soon as you are aware that you will not be able to pay child support in the amount specified in the order or that you will continue to owe it. Similarly, if you know that you need more support long-term due to a change in circumstances, you should immediately consult an attorney about your options. The same goes for spousal support orders.Contact Knowledgeable Family and Divorce Lawyers in Traverse City
Parents and their children need compassionate and knowledgeable representation when they are involved in a child support dispute. If you need to obtain or pay child support, you should consult our Traverse City and Grand Rapids child support lawyers as soon as possible. The Neumann Law Group also represents people in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or use our online form to set up a free appointment with a child support or child custody attorney.