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Joint custody does not eliminate child support

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2022 | CUSTODY & VISITATION - Child Custody

Every parent is legally required to provide for their children even if they are not living together. Upon divorce, the court may order one parent to make periodic payments known as child support to the other parent after considering each parent’s financial status, among other factors. 

When you share custody of the children, you may think that you do not have to pay child support payments to your co-parent. After all, you are directly involved in raising the children. However, Michigan custody laws take a different stance, as discussed below.

Child support and custody are two different issues

Child custody is determined differently from child support. Different factors apply when deciding how custody will be shared and the child support obligations of each parent. As a result, you are still legally obligated to make child support payments as ordered by the court, even if you share custody of the children with your co-parent.

Are your child support terms fair?

Child support payments are meant to provide for the needs of the child and are enforceable in court. Your co-parent could take legal action if you default on making these payments. However, if circumstances have substantially changed since the court issued child support orders, you can seek a modification of the initial directives. 

For example, you may find that you are spending more time with the children, and the child support payments do not meet their purpose, or you lost your job and are finding it hard to keep up.

The judge may review and adjust the previous orders accordingly if you have valid reasons and sufficient proof. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of your legal options if you believe that your child support terms are unfair, rather than defaulting and risking legal penalties.