The average Michigan family probably looks much different than it did 10 or 20 years ago. Not only do many households now have two adults working outside of the home, but family law issues are changing too. Joint custody is increasingly the norm in cases of divorced parents, but that has some questioning how they should handle child support issues.
In general, child support is usually paid by the noncustodial parent -- often the father -- to the parent with primary physical custody. Now that research has demonstrated that most kids fare better after divorce when their parents choose a joint custody arrangement, the idea of what child support should be is changing. In many ways it is seen as an equalizer, especially when the higher earning parent is the one who pays.
However, some parents are choosing to skirt around traditional child support altogether. By establishing a checking account into which both parents deposit funds intended to support their child, parents can use a Children's Checkbook to make sure that both parties are paying their fair share. However, since this approach requires excellent co-parenting skills, parents who are still feuding over divorce matters might want to stick with traditional means of child support.
Whether a child is in a joint custody situation or stays primarily with one parent, seeing the other only during visitation, they still deserve financial support from both of their parents. Child support is an essential aspect of their financial well-being, and should not be overlooked. Michigan parents who are struggling to make their support payments, are not receiving anything from their ex or are otherwise struggling with support should consider petitioning their local family law court for a modification of an existing order.