Plaintiff sought an increase in child support, claiming the defendant-father's income had increased substantially, which constituted a change in circumstances.
In July 2015, plaintiff filed a motion to modify child support. In that motion, plaintiff alleged that, while at the time of mediation, the parties had negotiated on the basis of 2012 tax information, defendant's tax information for 2013 showed a substantial increase in income. Plaintiff further alleged that defendant had remarried, acquired income generating property, purchased two Porsche vehicles, and had significantly remodeled his home. Plaintiff submitted that this established a change in circumstances sufficient to modify defendant's child support obligations.
A trial court may modify a child support order if modification is justified by a change in circumstances. The trial court denied her motion. The parties' divorce judgment included a property settlement and incorporated by reference spousal and child support orders. Defendant argued that given the atypical arrangements, the child support and spousal support were inextricably tied to the property settlement, and so no modification as to support could be considered. The trial court agreed with defendant.
On appeal, the court noted that plaintiff could not "collaterally attack the original divorce judgment," but could "file a motion to change support based on a change of circumstances." In that respect, it concluded that the trial court erred by holding that the child support provisions and the property settlement are inextricably tied together and that the support provisions are non-modifiable.
On appeal, the court reversed the denial of plaintiff's motion to modify child support and remanded to the trial court with instructions to allow plaintiff an opportunity to submit evidence demonstrating a change in circumstances sufficient to justify modification of child support.
Child custody, parenting time, and support orders can be modified anytime upon showing a change of circumstance. In Michigan, like in most states, child support determinations are determined according to a formula that takes into account each parent's income, along with factors such as parenting time, and health care, daycare and education expenses. An experienced attorney can help you determine a fair amount and represent you in court or in settlement negotiations.