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What Will Change Your Child Support Obligation?
Divorce is complicated, and it is made much more so when you and your spouse have children together. In the most fortunate circumstances, both spouses part ways amicably and a suitable custody arrangement can be agreed upon: one that provides the best physical, emotional, psychological, and financial support for the children involved.
What happens if something changes down the road, such as one spouse experiencing a very sudden change in income? It is a common misconception that child support obligations are set in stone. The reality is that child support is continuously evaluated to ensure the best needs of the family are being met.
Reevaluating Your Child Support Obligation
In the state of Michigan, the Friend of the Court will review a child support request every 36 months. This can be done by request, but if one parent or both are receiving any form of public assistance, it is done automatically. If you are interested in filing a court motion to reevaluate your obligations, it is a good idea to consult a Grand Rapids divorce attorney who is experienced in navigating the Michigan court system.
There might be a fee associated with filing this court motion, but this isn’t always the case. On the other hand, you should always expect to fill out a case questionnaire and supply documents (such as pay stubs or business tax returns if you are self-employed) that provide proof of your recent income.
What Can Change Your Obligations?
If your ex-spouse files a court order requesting changes to your child support obligation, it will likely be due to a change either in your financial situation or a change related to childcare expenses. For instance, your ex-spouse might have recently lost their job—while you recently got a promotion. In this case, you may be required to increase the amount of child support paid towards basic living expenses.
Another common situation relates to children turning 18. If your child is no longer a minor, child support expectations typically end. However, there are situations where a child who is over 18 is still in high school and living at home full-time. In circumstances where the child is reasonably expected to graduate high school before they are 19 ½ years of age, you may be requested to continue providing child support to help them with their basic needs as they work towards obtaining their diploma.
If a change has occurred recently in your family situation, such as a raise, job loss, or graduation, your child support obligations might have changed too. It’s always a wise idea to contact a reputable family attorney if you have any questions.