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How to Modify Child Support in Michigan

Child support is crucial to making sure children in Michigan have the financial foundation they need to thrive. Amounts of child support are calculated based on the parents’ economic circumstances and the children’s needs at the time the initial child support order is entered. However, life goes on and circumstances may change. When that happens, the law allows the child support to be modified.

Michigan law offers two different ways a parent can seek modification of child support:

  • Request a Friend of the Court (FOC) review — The FOC is an agency that assists the court in resolving issues of child custody and support. You are entitled to FOC review of your support order every 36 months, but you can request a review anytime if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as when one parent has a large increase or decrease in income.
  • File a motion in court — Alternatively, a parent always has the right to go directly to a family court to ask for child support modification. This is best done with the help of a qualified, local lawyer.

The FOC method has the advantage of being free. The drawback is that the FOC process can easily take 90 days or longer. The original child support amount will remain in effect until the FOC process is finished and the court approves.

Filing a motion in court with assistance from a child support attorney results in a quicker change to the support amount. In fact, the new support amount can begin as soon as the date you notify the other parent that you filed a motion.

Whether you choose the FOC or court method, you will need to be prepared to explain why you should receive a modification. Michigan law describes these situations in which a child support modification may be allowed:

  • A parent has applied for or is already receiving public assistance, unemployment compensation or worker’s compensation.
  • A parent has been incarcerated or released from incarceration.
  • There is a temporary or permanent change in the physical custody of the child.
  • A parent gains or loses access to healthcare coverage for the child.
  • There were mistakes in the original child support order.
  • There is a change in either party’s income.
  • There is a change in childcare payments.

The parent requesting child support modification bears the burden of proving why modification is warranted. To make your case, you will likely need to provide such evidence as recent paystubs or statements from your employer, copies of recent federal and state income tax returns and other materials the FOC or court may request.

My firm, Dawson Family Law, PLLC helps parents who are seeking child support modification and those opposing it. If you need to speak with a lawyer, please call 833-671-4445 or contact me online today for a free consultation. My office is in Sterling Heights and serves clients throughout Detroit and southeast Michigan.

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    43805 Van Dyke Avenue
    Sterling Heights, Michigan 48314
    Phone: 586-731-7400
    Fax: 586-731-6370
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