Will my child support increase if my ex is unemployed?

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

My ex and I have four kids and we share joint physical custody. I do not currently pay child support, though I cover medical costs and some extracurricular expenses.

She is recently unemployed and now wants me to pay child support.

Will her request be approved? If she wants more money, she should find a job!


Child support, in Michigan, is determined by applying the Michigan Child Support Formula and Guidelines to the unique facts and circumstances of each case. The formula uses each party’s income, the number of overnight visits each parent has with the child, and expenses such and child care and health insurance paid by each parent to make a recommendation of the amount of support needed for the children.

If your former spouse files a motion with the court to get a child support order, you will want to be prepared to present evidence of each factor considered in the child support guideline.

Most importantly, in your case, is the fact that your former spouse does not work, but likely has the ability to earn an income. You would want to ask the court or Friend of the Court referee to impute income to your former spouse.

Imputation of income allows the amount she could or should be making to be taken into account when the child support formula is used. Income is most often imputed to a party when there has been a voluntary reduction in income or a voluntary unexercised ability to earn income.

The Michigan Child Support Guidelines recommendation for child support is not a number that is set in stone. You can ask the court to deviate, or depart, from the recommendation.

In order to deviate from the child support recommendation, the court has to determine that the support recommendation is unjust or inappropriate and that the deviation is in the best interests of the children involved. The court can look at any factor it deems relevant to make this determination. In your case, deviation may be appropriate because you pay for additional expenses and provide child care for more time than your overnights.

You should contact an attorney who is licensed in the jurisdiction to further discuss the specifics of your situation. Cordell & Cordell does represent divorced dads nationwide.


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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