News stories about child support issues, such as a non-payment, delinquent parents, arrests, and high child custody amount and their modifications are not uncommon. In fact, individuals may hear them on a daily basis.

Our Michigan residents may find it interesting to learn that the ex-spouse of a hedge fund billionaire recently asked for nearly $1 million on a monthly basis in child support payment in order for her to raise their three children. Though such media reports of child support are interesting to read, and the monthly payments difficult to fathom for many average families, in reality many parents never see a dime from the non-custodial parent.

According to an article by FiveThirtyEight, analysis of the Census data from 2011 indicated that over $14 billion in child support went unpaid. Though a custodial parent can be a father or a mother, the analysis found that nearly 32 percent of father’s who had custody did not get any child support from the non-custodial parent. This percent, however, lowered to about 25 percent if the custodial parent was the mother.

Regardless of who has custody of children, child support payments serve an important function and are beneficial to the child and their up-bringing. Michigan courts use child support guidelines prescribed under State law to determine what a child support payment should be. Many factors, such as the income of both parents, child care expenses, medical costs, and education expenses, are taken into account when determining the monthly obligation.

Once ordered to pay child support, a non-custodial parent has an obligation to make sure the custodial parent gets the money. In some cases, the non-custodial parent may not be able to keep up with the initially determined amount of child support payment because of unforeseen circumstances such an injury, reduced work hours, or loss of a job. In these instances, simply stopping child support payments will only increase arrears and be problematic in the long run. Filing a petition for modification of child support is an option available to both a custodial and non-custodial parent. Working with a family law attorney to ensure the right paperwork is filed in a timely manner can alleviate a lot of heartache surrounding child support issues down the road.

Source: National Desert News, “What America’s child support problem is really about,” JJ Feinauer, Mar. 6, 2015