When two Michigan parents go through a divorce, their main priority is the protection and well-being of their children. Most parents understand that the process of divorce can be hardest on the children, and as a result, they strive to provide them with a reasonable custody order that allows them to have access to both parents. It's not always as easy to come to an agreement on the issue of child support.
Until a child reaches the age of 18, his or her parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support. What this means depends on the details of the individual situation, such as the needs of the child and the income of the parent. Whether you believe you should receive these types of payments or you want to understand what you can expect regarding your own financial obligations after divorce, you may want to learn more about how your income can impact support.
What counts as income?
Sometimes, parents are able to reach a satisfactory agreement on the issue of child custody. This means they are in agreement regarding how to share financial duties and obligations regarding the children. Traditionally, the non-custodial parent would pay support to the parent with primary custody. Now that it is more common for parents to share joint custody and parenting time, it is not always as easy to determine who will pay for what.
When it is up to a family court to decide how much child support should be and which parent should pay it, there are several factors it takes into consideration, including your income. The court will look at any source of income you have, including the following:
- Your take-home pay
- Other wages you receive, such as tips
- Benefits, including veteran and Social Security benefits
- Pension payments
- Estate or trust benefits, or inheritance
- Military benefits
- Income from self-employment
- Gifts and things won
While your income is a primary factor in a final child support determination, you have the right to pursue a payment amount that you believe is fair and sustainable. Money and support are some of the most contentious issues in many divorces, which is why it can be helpful to speak with an attorney regarding your legal options. It is always worthwhile to know how to protect your rights and long-term interests during a divorce.