Child Support

Child Support

Child support is a parent’s court-ordered payment to help with the costs of raising a child. Child support normally stops when a child turns 18. But a court can order support for a child who is between 18 and 19 ½ if the child:

  • Attends high school full-time,
  • Has a reasonable expectation of graduating, and
  • Lives full-time with the parent that gets child support or at an institution.

Child support normally includes a base amount, plus amounts for health care and child care costs. Child support can be ordered in a:

  • Paternity or custody case (if the parents were never married)
  • Divorce case
  • Support case

Children have a legal right to financial support from both parents. A parent can't avoid paying child support by agreeing not to have parenting time (visitation) or by agreeing to have their parental rights terminated. Sometimes a parent must continue to pay child support even after their parental rights have been terminated.

Who Pays Child Support?

The Michigan Child Support Formula determines which parent will pay child support and the support amount, based on factors including each parent's income and the number of nights per year that the child spends with each parent (called "overnights").

The person who pays child support is the “payer.” The person who gets child support is the “payee.” If the payee or the child gets public assistance, the child support payments may go to the state instead of the payee.

Calculation of Child Support

  • The parents’ incomes
  • The number of nights per year ("overnights") the child spends with each parent
  • The number of children supported
  • Health care costs
  • Child care costs
  • Other factors

The court must order support according to the formula unless the result would be unfair or inappropriate. If the parents reach an agreement about the child support amount, the court can consider the agreement, but does not have to approve it. If you have agreed to child support in an amount different from the formula, you must fill out an extra form, the Uniform Child Support Order Deviation Addendum. File this form with your Uniform Child Support Order.