When parents separate or file for divorce, they are still emotionally and financially responsible for supporting their children. During the process, children must transition from a traditional family to a single-parent household. Not only is this matter emotional for children, but it can also be difficult for parents to adapt to the change of environment and finances.
Child support is designed to bridge the financial gap that occurs when parents separate. It is based on the belief that children should receive the same amount of financial support that they would have if their parents had stayed together.
The child support model
Michigan, along with many other states in the U.S., follow an income shares model when calculating child support, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. These guidelines, which are set by the Supreme Court, take into account both parents’ monthly net income. Once the income is established, the court uses a chart to find the base child support amount.
Types of support
In addition to the base child support amount, the court may determine other types of support are needed depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. These other expenses may include the following:
- Child care
- Medical, including dental and vision
- Educational costs
- Extracurricular activities
- Insurance premiums and coverage
The court may also include traveling expenses accrued when parents exchange children for parenting time and holidays.
Keep in mind that once the child support amount is set, the court may modify the total if a change in life circumstances occurs, such as a job loss or incarceration. The court will base all decisions on the best interest of the children.