Modifying Michigan Child Support

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Michigan law allows Child Support orders to be changed when there has been a "substantial change of circumstances".

Examples of a substantial change of circumstances would be a change or loss of employment, a promotion, a modification of the custody or parenting time arrangement, or a party having additional children in a subsequent relationship.

While courts differ in their interpretation of what constitutes a “substantial” change of circumstance, usually a small pay raise or cost of living increase does not meet that standard.

If the Child Support order would change less than $50 per month, usually no change will be made.

The FOC will review Child Support orders once every 36 months. Review and Modification Eligibility Notices will automatically be sent when your case is eligible and it is up to you to respond if you wish to have your support amount reviewed. The Friend of the Court may initiate a support review on its own initiative at any time if there is a change of circumstances as defined by MCL 552.517.

"How To Video"
Modifying Child Support

Family Law Attorney
Randy Pitler of
Michigan Divorce Helper

Within 180 days after determining that a review is eligible, the FOC will send notice, conduct a review, and obtain modification of the order, if appropriate.

If the FOC determines that no change of the order is warranted, then within 30 days of the determination the office shall advise the parties. If either party objects, a hearing will be scheduled before the court on the objection.

Before asking for a Child Support Review, be aware that the results may not be what you want or expect if the facts do not support your position. Parents often are unaware of the true financial condition of the other parent. Recommendations made under the Michigan Child Support Formula are based upon the income of both parents. A request from the custodial parent for an increase in Child Support could result in a decrease in Child Support if the non-custodial parent's income has declined. Similarly, a request for a decrease in Child Support could result in an increase in support under some circumstances.

Michigan law does not allow Child Support to be modified retroactively; that is, support can only be modified for the future, not for payments that have already become due. Once Child Support is ordered or billed to your account, it is due and payable and usually cannot be changed. Because of this, if your income changes, e.g. if you are a payer of support and you lose your job, you should immediately file a motion or otherwise start proceedings to have your support changed. Do not wait until you go back to work or otherwise regain an income. If you delay in filing a motion, you may be required to pay support that could have been ordered at a lower rate based upon your lower income. Simply notifying the court or the FOC office that you are off work is not enough. You must file a motion before support can be changed.
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