When a couple splits, the most contentious aspect is often child support. According to Michigan law, child support is determined by several factors, including how much each spouse earns and how many days the kids will spend with each parent every month. Additionally, Michigan law states that, because child support is for the children, it cannot be denied by either parent.
Unfortunately, financial situations change and one parent will often require a modification to the child support order. If you're facing this situation, here is some information you need to know.
When to Consider Filing a Child Support Modification
The choice to file for child support modification should be done after much consideration. The court will not allow the modification without solid justification. Here are a few of the most common reasons why parents file for a modification of their child support:
- Either spouse lost their job.
- Either spouse is taking on more financial responsibility for the children.
- Either spouse had a dramatic increase in income or received a large inheritance or settlement.
- The cost to care for children dramatically increased. For example, a child might incur several medical bills or the tuition to their private school may have increased.
A modification order can also either be permanent or temporary depending on the circumstances. For instance, if one parent loses their job, the court might allow them to pay less child support while they find stable employment.
How to File a Motion to Modify Child Support in Michigan
Before filing a motion, contact your attorney. In Michigan, you are allowed to file on your own; however, if you are worried that your former spouse will contest the modification, or if you don't feel comfortable, the best option is to work with an attorney.
In Michigan, the modification order is filed with the friend of court, or FOC, office. This office is charged with monitoring the child support process to ensure that the payments are timely. If either parent receives public support in Michigan, the FOC will automatically review the child support arrangement every three years.
The process begins with asking the FOC to review the current child support order. The modification must be filed by the spouse who has had a change in finances or lifestyle. The FOC will ask for proof of income from both parties and will review the current order and determine if a change is warranted.
After the FOC reviews the modification, an officer from the FOC will notify each former spouse to inform them if any changes to the child support order are warranted.
What to Do If You Disagree with the Support Modification Order
If you do not agree with the FOC's decision, you can appeal it in court. You might believe the order should be changed, or conversely, not changed. Either way, if you have a disagreement, the process moves from the FOC to the court. The court will then determine if the order should be changed.
When both parents agree to an order, they must prepare and present a new agreement to a judge. The FOC is not responsible for preparing a new agreement. However, in some cases, such as if both parties do not have an attorney, the FOC will help draft a new child support agreement.
Whether you agree with the new order or want to dispute the modification, it is critical to contact an attorney. If the modification order is approved, you will have to abide by the court's decision, whether you agree with it or not.
If you pay or receive child support, you should know the specifics of how to modify a child support agreement in Michigan. If you have any more questions, contact Witzel & Zoeller Lawyers PC.