My Child Turned 18 and My Ex Still Owes Child Support
Family law is notoriously messy. Divorce can disrupt even the most stable families, causing bitterness between spouses and leaving children in the crossfire, wondering where their loyalty should lie. In some cases, spouses part ways civilly, and child support always arrives on time.
However, in an unfortunate number of cases, legal battles erupt over custody and child support issues. If you are like many Grand Rapids parents, you are facing financial complications post-divorce. Whether your spouse is unwilling to pay child support or you are facing legal custody challenges, it is crucial to seek an experienced, reputable divorce attorney who can help you to navigate these murky waters.
Child Support Complications
Typically, the parent without physical custody is required by Michigan state law to pay for their child's basic needs. Even if a parent has no parental rights, they may still be required to pay child support to a child under 18. The state of Michigan defines custody under two separate categories: legal and physical. In most straightforward cases, the court will grant legal custody to both spouses. Still, when it comes to physical custody, several factors are often considered. These are known as "best interest" factors.
Due to this process and its cautious and exhaustive nature, it is difficult to change custody once established. As such, the burden of proof falls on the other party to prove that something significant has changed and that the spouse with physical custody is failing to provide a safe and secure home. Since this process can be exhausting and time-consuming, it is essential to enlist the help of a knowledgeable attorney. Grand Rapids child support is calculated according to the Michigan Child Support Formula, which considers various aspects of parental income, healthcare costs, and other factors.
Retroactive Child Support
Another issue that crops up remarkably often is that of spouses failing to pay child support—and then being forced to pay retroactively once the child reaches the age of majority. If you have found yourself in this situation, you are advised to work fast. There is a statute of limitations in Michigan that pressures the parent with physical custody to take legal action as quickly as possible.
While obtaining backdated child support can be possible, it is a complicated and nuanced process that requires the expertise and guidance from an attorney specializing in family law. The Family Law Support Act provides insight into what can be done about retroactive child support.
If your child is 18 or is about to be, and you have yet to receive child support in full, you should seek legal counsel from an experienced Grand Rapids family attorney.