Michigan has a Child Support Guideline Manual which the Friend of the Court uses to recommend child support in Divorce cases. One of the key factors in the Guidelines is the “net income” of the non-custodial parent. Income includes not only base wages received from employment, but also includes such things as overtime, shift premiums, cost of living allowances, bonuses, annuities, certain dividends and even gambling winnings. The Guidelines also look as such things as second families, step children, health of the children, and child care expenses. The Guidelines are somewhat complicated and quite lengthy, but they are clearly used as a standard for setting child support by most Circuit Judges. The guidelines add up the total amount of “family income”, computes child support on the whole, assign a percentage to each contributing parent, and then requires the custodial parent to pay their percentage to the non-custodial parent.
In dealing with the issue of support other incidental issues are also dealt with by the FOC. These include medical coverage, out of pocket medical expenses and child care.
It should be noted that the manner of calculating child support has recently been changed. The changes are numerous but some of the highlights include calculating support on a monthly rather than weekly basis. Also, the actual overnight parenting time that the paying party has is a significant factor in determining the amount of support. An individual who was under a previous FOC support order should now seriously consider to have the FOC review the amount of support being paid because it may be significantly reduced with the new FOC guidelines.