Common Child Custody/Support Questions Answered by an Eaton County, MI Child Custody Lawyer

Understanding how child custody is determined and who will have to pay child support isn’t always clear to one or both parties involved in a child custody case. Will one parent be granted more custody time over the other? Will only one parent be responsible for paying child support? In this article, we are addressing these questions along with many others so that you understand how child custody is awarded in the State of Michigan and can feel more confident going into your case.

  1. Is it common for the court to award one parent with more custody time than the other?

Not necessary. In fact, the court encourages parents to reach their own agreements regarding custody arrangements. However, in the event both parties cannot agree on a reasonable custody arrangement, “the judge must decide custody by considering what is in the best interest of the child. Some factors a judge will use to determine this include:

  • “The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and the continuation of the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any. “
  • “The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.”
  • “The mental and physical health of the parties involved.”
  • “The home, school, and community record of the child.”
  • “The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.”

For a complete list of all the factors a judge uses when determining what is in the best interest of the child, click here.

Now, there are times when a judge might award joint physical custody to both parents or award one parent with more custody time which would make them the custodial parent. If you want to be sure that you are awarded ample time to spend with your kids, it is best you hire an Eaton County, MI child custody attorney to represent you in your case.

  1. How are child support orders established?

If you and your spouse/partner are getting divorced or separating, you can have your Eaton County, MI child support attorney request that the court issue a child support order after custody has been determined. Typically, the court would first consider if child support should be awarded to the requesting parent before determining an amount. The court generally orders the non-custodial parent to provide support for the child who is living with the other parent (i.e. the custodial parent). Once the court has determined that child support should be paid, it will set the amount of child support, medical support, and child care support that needs to be paid.

  1. Will only one parent be required to pay child support?

The court will generally consider the custody order that was issued as well as what both parents’ income is before it decides who is required to pay support. While both parents are required to serve as a financial provider to their child, the court could order the child’s non-custodial parent to provide support to the custodial parent as this is the person who the child spends more time with. If you want to be sure you are awarded the proper amount of child support, be sure to retain a child support lawyer in Eaton County, Michigan.

  1. Are there any other types of support the court can issue an order for?

Yes, according to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, there are two other types of support a court can order a parent to pay. These include:

  • Medical Support. Under Michigan law, “the court must order one or both parents to get health care coverage (health insurance) that is available to them at a reasonable cost.” If you’re wondering what a “reasonable cost” is, you would need to review your support order which should define this. However, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services says that “insurance is considered reasonable if the cost to enroll the children does not exceed five percent of the providing parent’s gross income.” While the court does have the right to set a dollar limit on how much a parent must spend on health insurance, it can also order both parents to cover certain health care costs that are not covered by insurance.
  • Child Care Expenses. If a parent must pay for work-related child care expenses for a child that is under the age of 12 so that he/she can look for employment, keep their paid employment, or to enroll in and attend an educational program that improves employment opportunities, the court may require the other parent to pay an additional amount in support. The court will use each parents’ income to decide how much should be awarded for child care expenses.

Tip: If you are unable to afford your child support payments, you can always contact an Eaton County, MI child support law firm such as the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. to receive help with getting your child support order modified.

Now, if you have any additional questions pertaining to child custody or child support or you are looking to retain an attorney who can represent you in your case, you can always contact the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C., which is a child support law firm that provides legal services to those residing in Eaton County, MI.

You can reach the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. at:

1223 Turner Street, #333

Lansing, MI 48906

Phone: 517-487-6603


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