Michigan Uniform Child Support Order Changes for 2016

Milford Family Law Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler recently attended a Michigan Family Law seminar as a part of her commitment to continuing legal education. One of the presenters, J. Matthew Catchick, outlined several additions and updates to the Michigan Uniform Child Support Order paperwork. Wayne-Spindler shares some of the highlights here for her clients interested in child support issues.

Uniform Child Support Order Payments

uniform child support orderChild Support can be paid through the Friend of the Court or independently. A Uniform Child Support Order (UCSO) form must be filled out properly and submitted to the Friend of the Court.

“It is important to note that Parties cannot opt out of Friend of the Court services if there is any public assistance involved (e.g.: Medicaid, MIChild, cash assistance, food assistance, bridge card, WIC, etc.), or if there has been child support enforcement in the past year,” according to J. Matthew Catchick’s Family Law Institute seminar entitled, “Hot Topics in Support.”

Establishing an Automatic Child Support Obligation End-Point

In addition to many of the clerical changes to the Uniform Child Support Order paperwork, there is the addition of the option to automatically discontinue support payments at a specific point in time.

“One of the biggest changes to the new UCSO is the addition of the “Obligation Ends” and “Post-majority Support” provisions on Page 2 of the UCSO. The new Uniform Child Support Order automatically stops child support when the child turns 18, and it also automatically ends childcare on August 31st following the child’s 12th birthday,” according to Catchick’s report.

He informs attorneys to be aware of unique situations. There are considerations for special circumstances. For instance, children who will continue to be supported all the way through high school even if they turn 18 before graduation or special-needs children who will continue to need child care after their 12th birthday. Sometimes when a child is homeschooled or repeats a year in school, there need to be amendments to the support order.

“[Parents] should be informed (preferably in writing at the close of the representation) of their need to promptly request a modification of the UCSO if the children’s expected high school attendance dates change from what is indicated in the original UCSO,” writes Catchick.

Insurance

“A parent can only be ordered to provide health care insurance for the children if the cost of that health care insurance coverage does not exceed 5% of the parent’s total gross income,” according to Catchick’s review of the Michigan Uniform Child Support Order changes.

Deviation Addendum to Uniform Child Support Order

Another important change to the Uniform Child Support Order paperwork is the addition of a Deviation Addendum that allows accounting for any variations to the standard Michigan Child Support Formula. The paperwork allows for the documentation what would have been paid, deviations, the value of property awarded in lieu of support and the reasons why a standard application of the formula would be unjust.

Catchick details certain deviations to the standard formula may be warranted for:

  1. A child with special needs;
  2. A child with extraordinary educational expenses;
  3. One or both of the parents is a minor;
  4. A parent makes payments to a bankruptcy plan;
  5. Cases where the court has ordered a party, on an interim pre-judgment basis, to pay other household expenses, such as the mortgage and utility bills;
  6. The Court awards property in lieu of child support;
  7. A parent is incarcerated, with no assets;
  8. A parent provides a substantial amount of a child’s day time care, and directly contributes toward a significantly greater share of the child costs than those reflected by the Formula’s use of “number of overnights”;
  9. A parent receives bonus income in varying amounts, or at irregular intervals.

The list is not exhaustive—the final factor is: “any other factor the court deems relevant to the best interests of a child.” See MCSFM 1.04(E)(21).

White Lake Child Support Attorney

In addition to her 20+ years practicing in Southeastern Michigan, Washtenaw County Child Support Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler regularly attends seminars regarding the latest updates in Michigan Family Law. She offers free phone or in-person consultations to anyone with legal questions. Contact her Milford, Michigan office at 248-685-8888. The Law Office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler serves clients throughout Southeastern Michigan including Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee and Livingston counties. The experienced attorneys handle cases in Milford, Highland, Hartland, White Lake, Wixom, South Lyon, New Hudson, Holly, Grand Blanc and many other local communities.