Many Michigan parents who divorce are required to contribute financially for the benefit of their children to provide for their needs. It is usually a noncustodial parent who pays child support to a custodial parent, though child support could also be ordered in circumstances where the parents share joint custody. The amounts vary according to individual circumstances. State guidelines help family courts make determinations regarding who should pay, how much and when.

It happens at times, however, that parents with existing child support agreements experience unexpected (or expected) changes in their lives that make their current payments no longer feasible. It’s never a good idea to simply stop making payments in such situations. A parent in need may submit a formal petition, asking the court to modify its existing order.

Whether the court will grant the request depends on various factors. One thing any parent seeking child support modification must do is document any and all life changes that warrant his or her need for a change. It’s one thing to file papers asking the court to lower child support payments; it’s another to be able to back up that request with evidence of need by documenting that one’s income has changed, a loss of employment has taken place or a medical issue has arisen that is causing undue financial burden.

It’s also a good idea for a Michigan parent to discuss his or her need for child support modification with the other parent involved. This prevents negative surprises that may wind up flaring tempers and causing heated disagreements in court. Another way to keep stress levels to a minimum in such situations is to allow a family law attorney to act on one’s behalf in court.

Source: FindLaw, “Child Support Modification Tips“, Accessed on Sept. 25, 2017