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Michigan residents may be interested to know how child support is determined. A number of high-profile child support cases may contribute to the common misconception that child support paid to single mothers are usually excessive. However, the purpose of child support is to make sure that the children have access to the same standard of living they would have if their parents were married.

In reality, single mothers have no say in how much child support is awarded. If an agreement cannot be reached between the parents, the court decides on the amount of support. The decision will be based on a number of different factors, including what is in the best interest of the child.

The exact method of calculation used to determine child support amounts vary from state to state. The most prevalent model, called the income shares model, is based on the number of children in question and the income of both parents. Another model, commonly referred to as the percentage of income model, considers the percentage of only the income of the non-custodial parent in calculating the amount of child support. Usually, a percentage of 25 percent per child is used. There are also states that use a combination of both models.

While ensuring that children receive the financial support they require, the system is not entirely fault-proof. For example, there are no measures in place to verify how the child support is spent by the custodial parent even as the non-custodial is subject to consequences if the payments are not made.

Child support can be one of the most contested issues of a divorce. A divorce attorney may be able to advocate on behalf of his or her client to obtain fair payment terms for child support whether the client is making child support payments or receiving them.

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