By ISAAC CONSTANS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan has launched a free child support calculator to help parents determine what their unique child care responsibilities are. The public online tool, which existed earlier through several private websites, lets parents enter a number of variables into the state formula for child support and returns a payment estimate. The result is the same as would be determined by Department of Health and Human Services staff — although missing or misentered figures could lead to variations. State officials said they hoped the calculator would help reduce the conflict between parents that can come from child support settlements, helping both parents understand how support payments are determined and improving the chance for dependable and prompt payments. “That’s really what we’re looking for for children is reliable, consistent child support payments,” said Erin Frisch, director of the department’s Office of Child Support.