Understanding Child Support in Michigan: The Impact of Parenting Time

In my last post in this blog series, I discussed the broad range of items that can be considered gross income for the purposes of calculating a child support obligation in Michigan. Readers also learned that 'net income' for purposes of child support calculations are not the same as net income as it is defined by federal and state tax laws.

Next, we're going to briefly discuss how an award of parenting time can effect a parent's child support obligation.

For those of you just looking for the easy answer, here is the formula:

Easy, right?

Seriously though, the formula isn't easy to understand. I haven't included what the various parts of the formula are, because A) I don't want to mislead people and, B) there are some free calculators online that will do the math for you.

AllLaw.com Michigan Child Support Calculator

MIEstimator.com Michigan Child Support Calculator

Every additional overnight is going to lower the monthly child support obligation of the paying parent (the payor), although a 50/50 even split of overnights does not mean that no financial obligation exists. I'm often asked by parents who make more money than their co-parent if a 50/50 parenting time schedule means "no child support."

My answer is "No."

It could mean that no money was changing hands between co-parents to satisfy a child support obligation. It is far more likely however, that a monthly obligation will still exist.

Why? First, because almost no one makes the exact same amount of money as their co-parent. Second, the State of Michigan provides for adjustments to each parent's obligation for monies spent on child care and health insurance. Ordinary and extraordinary health expenses of the child are also factored into the obligation of each parent.

In my next post in this blog series on child support in Michigan, I'll briefly discuss the issues of arrears and retroactive child support.

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