If you are getting a Michigan divorce which involves minor children, then there are a few details that you must be aware of. In this guide, we’ll provide you with everything that you should be prepared for and may need to expect.

There are a variety of issues that will be determined during your divorce. These include:

  • Custody
  • Parenting Time
  • Child Support
  • Which parent claims the tax credit for the child


Be aware that there are two different types of custody. While legal custody refers to who the child will live with, legal is based on decisions including schools and medical issues. You can either get sole or joint custody depending on individual needs and concerns. Sole means one parent has custody whereas joint means custody is shared.

With joint custody, both parents can be part of decisions or the child may spend time living in both homes. Usually, sole legal custody will be provided if you are unable to make decisions with the other parent. With sole physical custody, the parent that does not have custody will usually get visitation rights.

Decisions here are based on the best interests of the child. There are a variety of factors that a judge will need to consider.

Parenting Time

This is determined by the custody agreement. Parent time may be granted for specific times and days by the judge. Alternatively, the parents may be able to work this out themselves. Its possible time may need to be supervised by a third party as well.

Again, this will be based on the child’s best interests however typically it will be presumed that time with both parents will be the right choice. There are exceptions to this such as where one parent is violent or potentially irresponsible. If this is the case, parenting time may be denied or restricted in a Michigan divorce.

Child Support

This is based on the Michigan Child Support Formula and takes into account a number of variables. A judge will consider:

  • Number of children
  • Time a child spends with a parent
  • The income of both you and your partner

Support tends to end when a child turns 18. However, it’s possible for it to last up to the time a child turns 19 1/2. This may be the case if the child is in full-time education at highschool.

With a child support order, you will find that various details are included such as expenses for medical care and information on which parent is going to need to provide health insurance. It is possible to find a rough estimate for the child support you might need to pay using the MiChildSupportCalculator.

Tax Credit

While a new law it is likely that the tax credit will go to the parent who holds custody of the child. However, it is possible for you to agree to something completely different with your spouse. The custodial parent is going to be the one that the child spends the highest number of nights annually. There used to be an exemption that reduced the taxable income of the custodial parent. However, this is no longer in effect and won’t be relevant until after 2025 at least. If however, your divorce went through before the new tax law, then your divorce judgment will provide details on which one of you receives the dependency exemption.

From 2018 onwards the federal child tax credit is now $2000 for each child. This is dollar for dollar on taxes that are owed and is refundable. You can get a refund of up to $1,400.

What Is Friend of the Court?

In certain cases, you can speak with a FOC caseworker or evaluator. They will provide support to the judge for issues involving child support and parenting time. It is only relevant in certain counties. In this case, the caseworker will run interviews for you, your spouse and your child as well as other people involved. They’ll calculator support and request information on your income.

They can attempt to help with a range of different issues. If you are unable to make an agreement with your spouse they can, in some cases, make recommendations. It’s worth noting that this isn’t a court order. However, if a judge signs, it will become one. You will have a chance to object to this before that happens.

We hope this provides you with everything you need to know when proceeding through a divorce in Michigan with a minor. The key thing to remember is that the judge will always aim to make decisions that are in the child’s best interest.

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