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Under Minnesota law, both parents are obligated to support their children in accordance with their respective incomes. The state calculates child support according to what's called an "Income shares" model. Minnesota child support has three components: basic support, medical support, and child care support.
Basic support is just what it sounds like: expenses related to care, housing, food, clothing, and transportation for the child. Medical support involves providing medical and dental insurance, including making payments toward the cost of insurance provided by the other parent, and payment for medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance. Child care support is payment for daycare when parents work or or attend school.
Unless you and your spouse have agreed on an amount of support and the court has approved it, basic support is calculated using the combined monthly parental income for determining child support (PICS) and the number of joint children to be supported, according to the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines.
Regardless of how physical custody is shared between the parties, each parent is considered to have an obligation to support their minor children. The legislature has established child support guidelines that bases each party's share of support on the amount of time that each parent has the children. Here's how it works in practice:
Minnesota offers an online Child Support Calculator so that parents can find out what their child support obligations will be. In order to successfully use the calculator, you will need to know each parent's gross monthly income; how many children live in each parent's home, excluding those for whom the parent already has an order to pay support; any existing child support or spousal maintenance orders for either parent; any Social Security or Veteran's Administration benefits paid to a joint child due to one parent's disability or retirement; the monthly cost of both medical and dental coverage; and the monthly amount of child care expense. Of course, the percentage of parenting time awarded by the court is also needed for these calculations.
Just because Minnesota child support is determined by formula, does not mean the calculation is a simple one. The award that comes out of a calculation is only as good as the information that goes in, and seemingly small details can have a large impact on a child support award. To be certain that your child support payment is calculated in a way that is fair to both your children and you, get the help of an experienced Minnesota child support attorney. Please contact us at Mundahl Law with any questions you have about how Minnesota child support calculations will affect your family. We look forward to working with you.