APRIL 1, 2002
Sponsored by the Michigan Nonprofit Association and the Council of Michigan Foundations
The parent awarded physical
custody of a minor child and
therefore responsible for day-to-day
decisions affecting the child.
Child Support Enforcement
The computerized case-manage-
ment system required of each state
by the federal Family Support Act of
1988 to streamline the administra-
tion of state child-support programs.
Unmarried parents raising a child
together; called “family” because
children are being raised jointly and
“fragile” because of the high risk of
poverty and instability.
The amount a person is able to
earn, even if s/he currently is not
earning at that level.
The parent who does not have
custody of the child and is not
responsible for day-to-day decisions
affecting the child’s well-being. A
noncustodial parent may have
rights to visit the child or have the
child with him/her for periods of
time (“visitation” rights and
“parenting time”) as well as a legal
obligation to pay child support.
Shared economic responsi-
The circumstance in which a
noncustodial parent has a child with
him/her frequently enough (at least
128 overnights annually) to be
considered directly contributing to
the child’s care.
Child-support issues have become increasingly important in recent years, driven by
dramatic changes in American family life, particularly with regard to children who
are born out wedlock or whose parents divorce.
In 1960 about 4 percent of all U.S. children were born out of wedlock; the figure is
closer to 33 percent today.
In Michigan the annual number of divorces has more than doubled since 1960; in
2000 the parents of approximately 37,000 Michigan children under age 18 were
Children born out of wedlock or whose parents divorce can face numerous economic
and psychological hardships. Those who live only with their father are three times more
likely to live in