Each spouse is required by law to aid in the financial support of their children. Michigan uses a complex formula, the Michigan Child Support Formula, to determine how much the non-custodial parent must pay in child support. Child support can also include day care expenses and health care expenses. The Friend of the Court may be called upon to investigate and make a written recommendation on the amount of child support to be paid, but the FOC must use the Michigan Child Support Formula guidelines in making their recommendation.
The determined amount of child support is based on the needs of the children and the ability of the parent to pay. That is, all sources of income will be considered, not just wages earned. Child support payments can be reduced upon showing a change in circumstances (income has been reduced) or when the child resides with the non-custodial parent for an extended period of time. This issue is very complex and should not be litigated without the aid of an attorney.If you feel you cannot afford the child support payments because of loss of income, it is imperative to speak with an attorney. In most cases, child support can be reduced but if you simply stop paying your support, the Friend of the Court could issue a felony-warrant for your arrest for non-payment. So speak with an attorney before you spend time in jail.
Spousal Support (Alimony)
Michigan does not use the term “alimony”; instead it is called spousal support. There is no right to spousal support in a divorce and must be bargained for or granted by a judge. Spousal support can be permanent or temporary based on eleven factors which are:
- parties past relations and conduct (fault);
- the length of the marriage;
- the parties ability to work;
- the source and amount of property awarded to the parties;
- the parties ages;
- the ability to pay spousal support;
- the parties present situation;
- the parties needs;
- the parties health;
- the prior standard of living of the parties and whether the parties support others; and
- General principles of equity.