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Departments » Friend of the Court » Child Support

1. Do I need an attorney to get an order for support?

You are not required to have an attorney to file a petition for support. An attorney may be helpful when filing papers and following specific rules.

2. Do the Friend of the Court and the judge have to use the child support formula?

Yes. A different amount may be used when there is a clear reason in writing or on the record why using the formula is unfair or improper.

3. How do I get an order for child support?

A petition asking the court to order child support must be filed with the court clerk. If both parties agree to establish support at the amount shown by the formula, they may sign an agreement (stipulation). Once that agreement is put in the form of an order, signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk, it will become an order of support.

4. How is child support determined?

Michigan law requires that the child support formula be used by the Friend of the Court or Prosecuting Attorneys when recommending, and by judges when ordering, child support amounts. The Friend of the Court's recommendation and the judge's determination can only vary from the formula when there is clear reason, either in writing or on the court record, stating why use of the formula would be unfair or improper.

In Michigan, the child support formula considers both parents' incomes when establishing or changing support. To purchase a copy of the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual, send your request, along with a check or money order for $5.00 payable to the "State of Michigan" to: Department of Management and Budget
Office Services Division
Publications Section
P.O. Box 30026
Lansing MI 48909

The manual is also available at your local library or at

courts.mi.gov/scao/services/focb/mcsf.htm -

5. If I am receiving public assistance (AFDC), do I still get child support?

No. The Friend of the Court must send any child support payments made, while you are on AFDC, to the State. If payments are made, you qualify to receive the first $50.00 per month, plus any child support amount paid which is over and above the amount of you AFDC grant. This money is processed through, and paid by, the Michigan Family Independence Agency (Department of Social Services). If you have questions regarding this program, contact your Family Independence Agency (Department of Social Services) Support Specialist.

6. Is the Friend of the Court responsible for making sure that child support money is being spent on the children?

No. The law does not give anyone the authority to verify how child support payments are being spent.

7. My court order states I am to pay support through the Friend of the Court. Can I pay the other parent directly?

No. Not without a change in your court order and having that order filed with a court clerk. If you fail to do so you might not receive credit for the payment.

8. The other parent is not paying support as ordered. What can I do?

Contact the Friend of the Court for enforcement if support equals one month overdue. You may also contact an attorney to start enforcement action.

Child Support
- General Information
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