Changes to the Michigan Child Support Formula
Every four years or so, the State Court Administrator’s Office and the Friend of the Court work together to make changes to the Michigan Child Support Formula. The most recent changes went into effect January 1, 2017. They included many important changes to the way child support is calculated in Michigan – and could possibly offer you a way to increase or decrease child support..
The same formula is used to calculate child support across all courts in Michigan, including Macomb County. Increases in the cost of living, as well as any changes in the law, are factored in when these revisions to the formula are made.
However, the best way to understand how all of these Child Support Formula revisions specifically affect your case is to speak to an experienced Macomb County divorce lawyer. In this article we list some of the most major changes that are likely to affect our law firm’s child support clients. Look them over, and then give us a call for a free consultation – so we can explain how these new rules may affect your unique situation.
Michigan Child Support Formula: Health Care Coverage
The sweeping reform of health care created by the Affordable Care Act resulted in the need for changes to the Michigan Child Support Formula.
Before “Obamacare”, the cost of a parent’s health insurance coverage was not considered in calculating the income they had available to pay child support. Now, because health insurance is mandatory, the cost of health care coverage is deducted from a parent’s income, when calculating their available income for purposes of determining child support.
And, because health insurance premiums can be hundreds of dollars per month, the parents income can be reduced by hundreds of dollars – resulting in a potentially substantial reduction in child support for many parents!
In another change, an employer’s contribution to the parent’s HSA is also no longer considered income – for the purposes of calculating child support.
And, deciding which parent is responsible to maintain health care coverage for the children has now been made easier under the new formula rules. The new formula includes a “decision tree” (floiw chart) for determining who should provide the child’s health insurance. Factors that are to be considered include: the cost of the insurance premiums; the quality of health care coverage; and the likelihood that a parent will be able to maintain the insurance coverage for the child.
Michigan Child Support Formula: Imputation of Income
In some child support cases, one parent may chose not to work, even though they are fully capable of working. Sometimes vindictive spouses even refuse to work intentionally to try and either reducing the child support they have to pay, or increasing the child support they will receive.
In cases where a spouse is capable of working but does not, the Judge will “impute income” to the non-working spouse. This means that the Court will use the income that they could be earning, in determining their child support.
When “imputing” income the new formula rules require the Court to consider a number of specific factors, such as: the geographic area, and the present skill level and condition of the non-working parent. Calculating imputed income is quite complicated, and is best discussed with a skilled divorce and family law lawyer.
Do Changes to the Michigan Child Support Formula Change My Child Support?
Child Support orders that were entered prior to January 1, 2017 were calculated using the old formula. These orders will not automatically be reviewed using the new changes to the Michigan Child Support Formula.
However, if applying the new formula rules to your situation would result in a substantial change in a parent’s child support obligation, your lawyer IS allowed to file a motion asking the Court for a change in Child Support. The Friend of the Court will allow you to try and modify your child support IF you meet a “threshold” of an increase or decrease of $50 or 10% of the original amount, whichever is greater.
So if the new formula would change your child support obligation by the greater of $50 or 10% of your original Child Support, you should discuss your child support situation with one of our experienced child support lawyers. Call us today for a free consultation!
Macomb County Divorce Lawyers
There are many complicated steps involved in obtaining a divorce. The best way to ensure that you will obtain the property division, spousal support, child support, custody and visitation arrangement that you deserve, is to hire a highly experienced and skilled divorce lawyer to fight for your rights.
Our Experienced Macomb County Divorce Lawyers Can Help
Experienced family law attorney Justin Vande Vrede has successfully represented hundreds of individuals in their Michigan No Fault divorces. He will offer you compassionate advice and aggressive representation at affordable rates, to ensure that your rights are always protected in your divorce matter. Call Justin Vande Vrede today for a free, confidential consultation.