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I. Uniform Child Support Orders (UCSO) are required in ALL cases where the parties have minor children. The UCSO MUST accompany any judgment or order affecting child support, even if support is set at zero.

A. MCR3.211 Judgments and Orders requires that

...any provisions regarding child support ... must be prepared on the latest version of the Uniform Support Order drafted by the state court administrative office... MCR3.211(D)(1).

B. If there is a conflict between the terms of the judgment or order and the Uniform Support Order, the Uniform Support Order will control.

C. The Uniform Support Order contains all the statutory language required in support orders and the language need not be repeated in the judgment or order that incorporates the uniform order. The judgment or order must still conform to the requirements of MCR 3.211 and include directions for paying MiSDU and the IV-D request when appropriate.

II. Tips for completing the UCSO

A. If there is more than one child, you must complete a support column for the current number of supported children, and additional columns indicating the reduction of support as the support obligation for each child ends. Note, the first column is support for one child, the second for two, etc.

B. You must break the total support obligation into its component amounts (base support, ordinary medical, child care, other). Without a breakdown, the Friend of the Court will assume that "total support" is all base support.

C. If support should abate for extended parenting time, check the abatement box. Abatement is not appropriate for Shared Economic Responsibility situations, as the support formula has already been adjusted for extended parenting time. Most cases under the October 2008 changes to the Michigan Child Support Formula.

D. If child support abates for extended parenting time you must tell the Friend of the Court whether or not to abate the medical insurance portion as well.

E. You may state in paragraph #13 that the medical insurance payment can be adjusted based on proof of a change in premiums as long as you tell the Friend of the Court the exact percentage to use in dividing responsibility.

F. If you state a monthly amount for the Ordinary medical expenses you must then state the yearly total in paragraph #5, the last blank line. If you do not fill in the paragraph #5 yearly total the Friend of the Court will assume there is no Ordinary medical amount that must be satisfied prior to adding an obligation for medical expenses.

G. In addition, if there are multiple children you should put the amount per child in paragraph #5. That way the Friend of the Court will reduce the ordinary medical amount as each child is taken off the account. Keep in mind that although the monthly amount is listed per child, in the case of multiple children, the recipient of support may spend the entire medical allotment on one child, but may not submit bills for reimbursement until the entire allotment for all children has been spent.

H. You must check whether the order does or does not follow the Formula. If it does not you must also put the Formula amount and state the reasons why you are deviating - the more specific the better. Put this information in paragraph #13.

I. Note in particular, paragraph 12 of the Uniform Child Support Order preserves all arrears.

J. UCSO paragraph #13 (the "other" paragraph):

i. If you put anything in paragraph #13 you must check the box on page 1 ("UNLESS OTHERWISE ORDERED in item 13").

ii. This paragraph may be used for setting support for periods of time in the past or future (e.g. "From Oct 1, 2004 to Oct 1, 2005, support shall be $1,000 per month...".or Beginning Jan 1, 2007, support shall be ....).

K. A UCSO without Friend of the Court services requires a separate order opting out. See the Opt Out section of this benchbook.

L. In the Opt Out UCSO, the parties are not ordered to tell the FOC their address or other information. The parties are required to keep each other informed of their addresses.

Following are links to the Uniform Support Orders on the SCAO web page.

Use this form for child support paid through the Friend of the Court

Use this form for child support when the parties are opting out of Friend of the Court services: