How Does a Family Law Attorney Help in Child Support Matters?

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When there are children involved in a divorce or separation, then different family law matters come into play than if there were no children. You have to think about child support issues as well as custody and visitation rights.

Issues to Consider as Part of a Child Support Case
In Michigan, the law says that children must be supported until the age of 18, or 19½ if they attend high school until that age. When a judge is considering what level of child support to award, they will look at several facts:

  • Number of children requiring support
  • What each parent currently receives as income
  • If there are any healthcare needs, and the costs involved
  • Amount of time children spend overnight with each parent
  • Whether any of the children require childcare
  • Any other financial aspects the judge feels is relevant

Why You May Want to Get Legal Help With Child Support

While much of your divorce may be amicable, you need to realize that any child support order is an essential part of your child’s future as it affects their quality of life. Hiring a lawyer ensures that you are fully aware of what your child’s rights are and what they are entitled to.

Get Legal Help With Child Support Today

A child support attorney at Michigan Premier Law can give you the legal advice you need. We can guide you through any of the more complex elements of family law issues and provide you with professional representation in court.

Handling Divorce Issues

Michigan is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. That means that neither party has to provide any evidence as to why the marriage has broken down. But there are still several legal matters that need to be discussed and which may need settling at mediation or in the courts.

Handling Estates and Wills

Generally speaking, Michigan courts usually divide any marital estate equitably in the event of a divorce. However, Michigan courts also recognize the difference between marital property and separate property. If you are unsure how you or your spouse’s assets will be classified, you can discuss this legal issue with your family law attorney at our law firm.

If you get divorced after writing a will, your former partner is not viewed as a surviving spouse in the eyes of the law. Despite this fact, it is still advisable to ask your lawyer about drawing up a new will.

Handling Child Custody Agreements

There are two types of child custody: legal custody where you have the right to participate in decisions about matters that affect your child’s life such as education. And physical custody which is where the child resides with you.

Handling Prenuptial Agreements

Michigan law recognizes both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. These can be useful legal tools to protect property or assets, and they can also help protect the rights of children from previous marriages.

Under Michigan law, neither of these agreements have any impact on child support orders. Our attorneys have vast experience handling these legal matters and can advise you on the effects of these agreements or on setting one up.

Represent Litigants in Court

Where any part of the divorce process is settled in court, your family law attorney will represent you and present any arguments or evidence on your behalf. This could include anything that will affect a child support order. If there has been a history of domestic violence, this will also be presented as it will affect child custody and visitation rights and may affect spousal support.

Why is My Child Support Based on Timeshare?

When calculating child support, the judge will take into account how much time a child spends with each parent along with other factors. However, the crucial element here is that this time must include an overnight stay. There are assumed costs with overnight stays such as rent, bedroom furniture, and food. Whereas limited access of a few hours at a time does not incur the same costs.

Why Does a Parent’s Income Matter for Child Support?

The income of both parents is taken into account when calculating child support orders. The court views income as the most important element in this process. In some cases, judges may also assess whether one parent is purposely unemployed or underemployed and may take this into account when making their decision.

Can the Court Make Me Pay Child Support for an Adult Child?

Yes and no. Age-wise, you only have to pay child support until your child turns 18, though if they are still attending high school, then you are required to support them to the age of 19½.

However, if you fall into arrears with your child support order, then there are ways for that child to sue you for those arrears when they are an adult. There is a statute of limitations on when these law cases can be presented and it currently stands at 10 years after the last payment was due.

Can the Family Court Order “Security” for the Future Payment of Child Support?

When an initial child support order is made, the court will not request security. But if you fall into arrears, the court has a range of options it may impose which included placing liens on possessions or property the defaulting parent owns or arresting a portion of their wages.

How Do I Go About Getting Child Support?

If you are in the process of divorcing your partner or are planning to, then your best course of action is hiring a lawyer at Michigan Premier Law to advise you on child support issues and to represent you in family court. If you have an existing child support order and believe you need additional assistance, contact the Friend of the Court assigned to your case.

If you do not have existing court-mandated child support, you can contact the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.

Is My New Spouse’s Income Included in the Child Support Guideline Calculation?

While the income of a new spouse will not be directly included in the calculations of a child support order, it may be considered in any support action.

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How is Self-Employment Income Calculated for Child Support?

Determining income received by a self-employed parent can be complicated as the figures are open to manipulation. A family law attorney at our law firm can identify if any manipulation is occurring and address these issues through the court.

Who is Responsible for Daycare and Unreimbursed Medical Expenses?

Where any medical costs are not covered by insurance, the parent seeking payment must contact the other parent and ask for those costs to be covered, usually within a certain period.

If there is any disagreement over the need for a particular medical service, the decision may be made by the court as to whether the medical cost was a necessary one and who is responsible for payment.

The amount of daycare expenses may be included in the judgment made by the court. The non-custodial parent can dispute rates if they feel they are too high. Childcare elements of any payment normally cease between the ages of 12 and 13.

What Do I Do if the Other Parent is Behind in Child Support Payments?

If the parent paying child support falls into arrears for any reason and you feel this is deliberate evasion and there is no amicable agreement to repay those arrears, then you should contact the appointed Friend of the Court.

They have several options open to them to enforce the child support order and to pursue payment of arrears.

  • Salary arrestment
  • Placing liens on property or possessions
  • Diverting payments from workers’ compensation benefits
  • Suspension of state or federal licenses which may include driving, sports, or occupation-related licenses
  • Withholding payments from unemployment benefits
  • Revoking a passport – or denying an application for one – if they have reached the arrears threshold of $2,500
  • Adding notice of arrears to credit reports
  • Issuing of a bench warrant for arrest
  • Filing a contempt of court motion (which can lead to incarceration)

What is the State Disbursement Unit?

The Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MISDU) is a branch of the Michigan state government which in effect acts as the ‘middleman’ for child support orders. The parent mandated to make child support sends their payments to MISDU who then sends it to the parent receiving the child support.

Final View

Whatever the feelings are in a divorce, the well-being and financial security of any children should be of the utmost importance. By hiring a child support attorney at Michigan Premier Law to fight your case under civil law, you are helping preserve the rights of your children.

Michigan Premier Law has extensive experience in child support cases. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and advise you if you are entitled to legal aid. Our family law specialist can examine all legal issues pertaining to the case, consult law libraries if needed, and give you the best representation possible.

If you want to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call our office today on 248-688-0045.

About Steven Smith

Steve is a former criminal justice worker. With degrees in psychology and social work, he spent most of his life helping those with addiction issues before switching to criminal justice. He was responsible for writing court reports and advising judges on sentencing. He also supervised offenders, including sex offenders, in the community and carried out risk assessments and probation appraisals. He now lives in SE Asia and is working on his 5th novel.