When a judge makes a child support order at the finalization of a divorce, this order remains in effect unless a modification is necessary. In most instances, either parent must request a child support modification to have a judge consider a change.
In order to consider modifying an order, the judge must see evidence that there have been substantial changes to living circumstances.
How often a modification request can take place
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, a support order review automatically takes place every 36 months if either parent is receiving public assistance. If public assistance is not relevant, either parents can make a request for a modification every 36 months with the Friend of the Court.
If there are substantial changes before the 36-month time frame, a parent can still request a modification. However, the parent will need to file a motion with the court.
According to the Cass County Courts, if the Friend of the Court is reviewing the case, each parent will need to fill out a financial questionnaire, as this is a main factor in the consideration. Information that each parent needs to submit includes:
- Income tax returns
- Employer statement regarding income or the four last paycheck stubs
- For self-employed individuals, business tax returns from the last three years
- Child Care Verification, if requesting child care reimbursements
The parent requesting the modification must be able to show that there is a substantial change in circumstances, which may be a job loss, promotion, additional children from another relationship or a change in parenting time.
If the FOC recommends the modification, both parties have 21 days to object with a written statement. If neither objects, the order is final. If either party objects, there is a hearing in which a referee hears both side’s statements and makes a decision.