The parties married in 2009 and divorced in 2017. The consent judgment of divorce provided that the parties agreed to joint legal and physical custody of their two minor children and equal parenting time.
Child Support Calculation
Regarding child support, the consent judgment provided that Defendant/Father shall pay child support to Plaintiff/Mother in the amount of $1,000.00 per month for the support of two children until each child attains the age of 18 years or graduates from high school.
Neither the consent judgment nor the attendant uniform child support order (UCSO) made any reference to a deviation from the Michigan Child Support Formula (MCSF), nor explained any reasons underlying their agreement.
Three years later, the Friend of the Court informed defendant that he had a right to request a child support review prompting him to move to modify his monthly support obligation to the amount established by the MCSF.
Friend of the Court Referee Hearing
A Friend of the Court referee conducted a hearing at which the parties testified regarding the reasons underlying the child support stipulation in their consent judgment. Plaintiff explained it was kind of agreed upon to leave his pension alone. Defendant was content giving plaintiff that money. Defendant came up with that thousand, and Plaintiff agreed upon it without Friend of the Court involvement. Defendant testified that he believed that his $1,000 monthly support obligation had been based on the child support formula without any deviation. He testified further that he did not receive anything in exchange for paying more child support.
The referee calculated defendant’s monthly child support obligation under the MCSF at $149 per month. The referee found that the support amount calculated under the MCSF would be unjust and inappropriate, and that a deviation of $750 was warranted. The referee surmised that the parties had agreed that defendant would pay monthly child support of $1,000 in exchange for a property concession. The referee expressed the belief that the agreed-upon support amount was for the children’s care and maintenance, and that the property plaintiff gave up would have otherwise been available to her for their benefit.
The trial court adopted the referee’s recommendation and entered an interim UCSO modification requiring defendant to pay monthly child support of $899 ($149 plus $750) for the two children, effective October 1, 2020.
Assistance Child Support Issues
In Michigan, like in most states, child support determinations are determined according to a formula that considers each parent’s income, along with factors such as parenting time, and health care, daycare and education expenses. We can help you determine a fair amount and represent you in court or in settlement negotiations. Additionally, if you feel you are paying too much or not receiving enough, our lawyers have successfully helped many clients receive child support modifications.