Q: In Michigan, Does child support start at birth, or when paternity is established, or when the paperwork gets filed?
I am Canadian, my son's father is American. Support is being handled in Michigan, and custody in Ontario. Friend of the court said it's only valid from the time filed. So essentially, he's absolved of his parental responsibilities for the first 12 months of his life? When the courts were closed for most of 2020? How is this possible, or even remotely fair?
A: Support would go back to when the action is filed; birth expenses - if the state paid for it, are separate and in addition to support.
The family courts mostly continued through COVID. Even if your particular court could not conduct a hearing - most made the transition to ZOOM hearings fairly early in the pandemic - support would still go back to when it was filed, regardless of when the hearing took place. Is it fair? Well, that's elusive is family law matters.
The rule is consistent with a general principle of the law: time is of the essence. It incentivizes someone coming to court sooner rather than later, and prevents one parent from holding support over the head of the other for years on end, with their leverage growing every year. Can you imagine one parent being able to say to the other, "if you don't like it, I'll go to the court and tell them I need child support, and you'll owe me a lot of money for the last 12 years".
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