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Understanding the child support formula

Regardless of whether a couple was unmarried with children or divorced with children, at least one parent -- typically the non-custodial parent -- will be required to pay the custodial parent child support for the upbringing of their child. Generally, each state has its own child support guidelines which are routinely followed by the family court system to determine the non-custodial parent's monthly child support obligation.

Every case is different and depending on the income of the parents, some non-custodial parents may be required to pay thousands of dollars in child support to the custodial parent. In such cases, the parent required to pay child support may not be too pleased. However, raising children comes with many expenses. Accordingly, it is important for the non-custodial parent to keep in mind that not only is it both parents' responsibility to care of their children, but it is also in the best interest of the child.

In Michigan, courts use incomes from both parents to calculate the monthly child support obligation. Even though online calculators are available to estimate child support obligations, in Michigan, the Friend of the Court Bureau has a child support formula manual available online for anyone to refer to, and to calculate their estimated obligation. Using the latest child support guidelines, the non-custodial parent can get an idea as to what they will be required to pay.

Despite such specific guidelines used by the courts, disputes between parties regarding child support may arise. For instance, a change in circumstances such as loss of a job may prevent a non-custodial parent from making payments. In such cases, to avoid being delinquent, the non-custodial parent may want to consider filing for a modification of child support payments. It may help to contact a family law attorney familiar with such motions to guide one in the right direction.

Source: Keloland Television, "Using The Child Support Calculator to Establish Payments," Brittany Larson, Feb. 4, 2014

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