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Could I Really Be Expected to Pay More Than 50% of My Net Pay In Child Support?

A client came to us recently after receiving a recommendation from the Friend of the Court for child support.  His child support was under review, and after submitting his income information and all relevant data needed to calculate child support, the FOC recommendation totaled more than 50% of his net income!  Is this really possible?  The answer, like many things we do in divorce and family law practice, is “it depends.” 

The problem for this father was not how much of his income was expected to go towards child support, it was that the combined total the court was proposing to withhold for health insurance, child care expenses, and child support was greater than 50% of his net income, leaving him with less than half of his paycheck.  Net income in this scenario refers to the take home pay, or the amount of income that is left after mandatory withholdings. 

Not a good scenario, but there is some relief to be had here.  First of all, the court can grant a deviation from the Michigan Child Support Formula calculation if the result is unjust or inappropriate.  One reason to allow a deviation would be if day care expenses are greater than 50% of the father’s “base support” as calculated under the Michigan Child Support Formula. 

Under both federal and state law, it is generally prohibited to enter a court order that exceeds 50% of the payer’s net income.  So it is possible to argue that if the total recommended amount of child support is above 50 % of the father’s net income, the court should not allow it and can be reason enough to object to this recommendation on that basis alone. 

            Day care expenses being charged should also be looked at to see if they can be reduced, which would be helpful to both the mother and the father.  There may also be state funded or state subsidized options available for day care expenses, which can help reduce those costs. Note that any day care expenses you are being ordered to pay your share of must be either work related or school related. 

            The cost of health insurance for the minor child is an important part of the calculation as well.  There may be other options available, or the other parent may have less expensive options available for health insurance.  If you are paying for the monthly cost of health insurance for the minor child, be sure that you are getting credit for that payment in the child support formula calculations. 

Child support calculations can be complex, and it is important to have an expert review the facts surrounding all of the data used for the calculations for the child support figures.  Do not assume that because a court or Friend of the Court calculated your child support it is correct.  There may very well be mistakes with the data used or with the law as applied to this particular situation.

About ADAM (American Divorce Association for Men)

The American Divorce Association for Men (ADAM) is a group of highly qualified attorneys who advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child custody and parenting time, paternity, support, property settlement, post judgment modifications, and other family law matters. Since 1988, ADAM has been aggressive, diligent, and uncompromising when representing their clients. A team of compassionate and skilled family law attorneys, ADAM is dedicated to being Michigan’s leading divorce attorneys for men and practices a policy of integrity in all dealings.

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