Child support is a tremendous help and vital necessity to Michigan parents raising a child. The child support process can be complex and sometimes confusing, and even if you know you qualify for child support, it is natural to have questions about getting the process started.
The easiest way to get a child support order is by coming to an agreement with the other parent on the amount of support to be paid, but in the absence of an agreement, a child support order must be issued by a Michigan court. The amount of child support is largely based on income and custody time.
The first step to obtaining a child support order is identifying the legal father of the child. It is important to recognize that a biological parent is not always the legal parent. For example, if a couple is married, the husband is legally presumed to the father of the child, even if the child has a different biological father.
In these cases, or in cases involving an unmarried couple, the paternity of the child must be determined. The easiest way to establish paternity is by having the biological father and mother sign an affidavit of parentage stating that they are the biological parents. If this is not possible, the court can order that genetic testing be done and establish paternity based on the test results.
What happens next?
Once paternity is established, the next step is to talk with a county prosecuting attorney. You will be required to provide some basic information and answer some questions. You will also attend a meeting with the prosecuting attorney to set up your child support case. Make your best effort to cooperate with the prosecuting attorney and provide any updates on your situation, to avoid delays or complications.
When setting up a child support order, locate or save copies of important documents such as photo identification, birth certificate, and proof of income, as these or other documents may be required to file your child support case.
Child support enables parents to provide for their child’s basic needs and maintain a healthy standard of living. Guidance and help are available for parents in need of child support.