Grand Rapids Child Support Attorney
Although the Michigan courts have developed a formula for the judges to follow when calculating child support during a divorce or child custody dispute, in practice, dealing with child support is rarely a straightforward process. There are various issues that can lead to a broad range of support amounts. Because the monthly support obligation really impacts daily living, it is critical to arrive at an accurate calculation as soon as possible.
Our attorneys represent separating parents in Grand Rapids and throughout West Michigan in all aspects of the custody process. This includes calculating accurate child support payments based on our clients’ individual financial circumstances and in accordance with Michigan law. We work closely with our clients to gain a comprehensive understanding of their current finances, especially if there are special circumstances such as varying income or special needs. We also utilize all appropriate legal mechanisms to make sure we have a complete picture of the other parents’ assets and income.
Calculating Child Support During a Michigan Divorce
Parental Income for Purposes of Calculating Child Support
In Michigan, child support is based on a parent’s ability to pay and the needs of the children. This means that we ensure that our clients are very well prepared before the child support hearing. We assist our clients with obtaining the other parent’s income, which may include (but is not limited to):
- Wages, salary, tips, and gratuities
- Overtime, commissions, bonuses and other forms of employment-based compensation
- Retirement plan, pension, insurance contract, annuity, trust, and profit-sharing distributions
- Business earnings and self-employment income
- Interest earned on investments
- Certain gifts from family, friends, and others
Additionally, while certain deductions will reduce a spouse’s net income for purposes of calculating child support, some deductions that are available for federal and state income tax purposes are not factored into Michigan’s child support formula.
Financial Disclosures (or Lack Thereof) and Child Support
It is important for parents to be proactive and obtain the necessary income information from the other parent. While the litigation is ongoing, parents may provide the other parent or third parties, such as an employer, with a discovery request to obtain this necessary information. Because the child support income or obligation usually impacts a parent’s ability to pay living expenses, intentional efforts to hide sources of income are fairly common. The Kraayeveld Law attorneys use a variety of different forensic and discovery methods to determine whether the other parent has more to disclose.
The Children’s Needs and Other Factors for Determining Child Support
In addition to considering both parents’ sources of income, the Michigan Child Support Formula also considers the children’s unique financial needs. The law breaks these needs down into three basic categories of expenses:
- Base support obligations (including food, shelter, clothing and other basic needs)
- Medical support obligations
- Child care expense obligations up to the age of 12
Various other factors also influence the calculation of support, including the number of children to be supported and whether the parents have additional children from other relationships.
Learn more about how child support is determined in Michigan.
Child Support for Business Owners in Grand Rapids, MI
When one of the parents is self-employed or a business owner, calculating income for purposes of child support presents some unique challenges. Unlike someone who gets paid an annual salary or hourly wage, determining the business owner’s gross income is not as simple as looking at a W-2. Monetary and non-monetary forms of compensation can both affect how much child support is owed, and the business expenses are usually subject to close scrutiny during the child support dispute.
At Kraayeveld Law, we have extensive experience representing business owners in divorce. We are intimately familiar with the provisions of the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual that apply to business income, expenses, and liabilities, and we work closely with our clients and if necessary experts, such as the business’ accountant or a forensic accountant to calculate child support and advocate our client’s case during the child support hearing. We can help you protect your business and finances while also protecting your relationship with your children. Our firm can offer you the guidance and experience of a Grand Rapids child support attorney to help you take aggressive legal action, if necessary, at any stage of your child support hearing or divorce.
Learn more about unique child support considerations for business owners in Grand Rapids, MI.
Seeking Modification of Child Support Post-Divorce
Child support may be reviewed once every 36 months if a parent responds to the Friend of the Court’s notification. Alternatively, you can request a child support modification earlier by filing a motion with the appropriate court.
Michigan law provides that the grounds for seeking modification of child support are limited. Unless there has been a change in circumstances or proper cause, the court will not consider a parent’s request to change the child support order. Some of the changes that the court will consider are a change in one parent’s income or a change in a child’s financial needs, or you have had a new child in a subsequent relationship.
Keep in mind that if you file a request to amend child support and your request is denied because you did not establish a change in circumstances or proper cause or did not have the necessary evidence to support your request, you cannot file the same motion again. A second, similar motion will likely be considered frivolous and be ordered to pay sanctions. Our firm can help you assess your options and determine the best path forward. We encourage you to contact us to discuss the specifics of your situation with a Grand Rapids child support attorney in confidence.
Learn more about seeking modification of child support after your divorce.
Request a Confidential Consultation With an Experienced Grand Rapids Child Support Attorney
If you have questions about child support and would like to speak with an attorney, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation. Call 616-285-0808 or tell us how to reach you and we will be in touch shortly.