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When does child support deviate from the formula?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2020 | child support |

To make sure children have the financial support that they need, the Michigan courts apply a formula that includes both parents’ incomes. However, your situation may have unique factors that affect how much child support your child needs, or how much support you can provide.

Here is what the State Court Administrative Office says about exceptions that affect the formula for calculating child support.

Factors involving your child’s needs

It costs more to care for some children than it does for others. For example, if you have a special needs child who has a physical or mental disability, or one who has a medical condition that requires frequent treatments, that likely affects how much of a financial contribution both parents will pay.

On the other hand, some children have their own income. If your child has a lucrative job, it may affect the amount you and your former spouse contribute to his or her care.

If you or your former spouse marries someone who is able to provide your child’s health care coverage, or some other third party pays the premiums, that may offset the amount of financial support you would require in order to meet your child’s needs.

Factors involving your own needs

If you have a medical condition that causes significant medical costs, it may affect how much of your income you are able to contribute to your child’s financial support. In the divorce, the property division phase may also affect one parent’s ability to pay. For example, the judge may determine that one spouse take on a greater share of the marital debt, and may settle more of the property, such as the family home, to one spouse in lieu of child support.

A bankruptcy that affects how a parent spends income, incarceration and related fees, child support for other children or reliance on low-income assistance may also result in an alteration of the calculation formula.

Factors involving parental contributions

Perhaps one parent works some nights, and the other provides child care in the form of overnight visits on those occasions. The savings in child care expenses in this situation or others may be significant enough that the judge decides to alter how much the parent pays.

In the end, the judge has the discretion to consider any factor that he or she deems relevant, so if you believe there is an issue, it is worth bringing up during the discussion.