Common Family Law Questions from Clients

Welcome to our series titled “Common Questions from Clients.”    At our firm, one of the attorneys’ most important roles is providing timely and detailed responses to our clients’ questions.  As you can imagine, there are “popular” questions that are asked quite regularly among clients.

Today’s post will focus on the following common question:  Can parents agree to waive child support?

Short Answer: No.

Detailed Answer: In a recent (February 2014) unpublished Michigan Court of Appeals decision titled, Snyder v. Snyder, the Court emphasized that children have the right to receive financial support from their parents.  The Court further stated that an agreement between the parents regarding support (e.g. that neither parent will pay support for a certain period of time, or ever) will not suspend the Court’s authority to enter a child support order.  The Court will not allow parents to waive a child’s right to support nor will they allow parents to bargain away their child’s right to receive financial support (e.g. exchange spousal support for child support).

For more details, read the complete decision here:  http://www.michbar.org/opinions/appeals/2014/021114/56435.pdf

NOTE* – This is different from requesting a deviation from the child support formula.  Pursuant to Michigan Compiled Laws 552.605(2) “The Court may enter an order that deviates from the formula if the court determines from the facts of the case that application of the child support formula would be unjust or inappropriate and sets forth in writing or on the record all of the following: (a) the child support amount determined by application of the child support formula.  (b) how the child support order deviates from the child support formula.  (c) the value of property or other support awarded instead of the payment of child support, if applicable.  (d) the reasons why application of the child support formula would be unjust or inappropriate in the case.”

In 2015, the State Court Court Administrative Office developed a deviation addendum that must be entered in addition to the Uniform Child Support Order to satisfy the deviation requirements of the statute.  If the deviation is appropriate and complies with the law, parents may agree to pay support that is higher than the child support formula, or, that is lower than the child support formula, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.

See the deviation form here:

http://courts.mi.gov/Administration/SCAO/Forms/courtforms/domesticrelations/support/foc10d.pdf

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Family law cases can be tough, emotional and stressful.  Let our firm help you through these chaotic times.  Our reputation of being trusted, proven and respected, in addition to being readily accessible at all times, should give you peace of mind.  Please allow our family to help you and your family successfully navigate the storm by contacting our office today for a free consultation. Phone:  734-761-5860; Website: www.reedlawgrouppc.com