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Setting child support: What factors are considered?

Going through a divorce with children can be extremely emotional and difficult for everyone involved. Children of divorce are forced to face a myriad of issues, such as learning how to split time between parents and transition from a traditional family to a single-parent household. Child support is designed to ease this transition and ensure children enjoy the same quality of life that they would have had their parents remained together.

Michigan, and many other states in the nation, uses an income shares model of determining child support. This means that both parents’ incomes are put together and then distributed to the members of the household. Rather than look at the income of the non-custodial parent, this model calculates both parents’ income into the child support amount.

Once the base child support amount is determined, there are other expenses that must be paid in addition to that sum. In most cases, both parents are responsible for paying half of all medical bills, educational expenses, recreational activities, insurance coverage and daycare expenses. Parents may also be required to split cost of traveling during visitation times.

In some cases, the judge presiding over the case may look at additional factors when setting child support in a divorce settlement. These may include the occupation of each parent, earning potential, medical expenses and age of each parent. The idea is to create the best situation for the child and to make decisions based on their best interest.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.