Child support is necessary because both parents must financially provide for their children. It most commonly happens during a divorce case. The courts can also determine child support for parents who never married once they establish paternity.
Each state has a different way of determining child support. The courts calculate the amount in a way that is fair for both parents and provides enough for the children.
What Factors Determine Child Support?
In Minnesota, two main factors determine child support. One is each parent’s income, and the other is their parenting time. These details are part of the divorce settlement.
Minnesota courts add each parent’s income to find the Parental Income for Child Support (PICS). The total amount isn’t the deciding factor-courts also consider how many children they have and how much each child costs. These costs include estimates of medical insurance, childcare, and more.
The law doesn’t just take income at face value. Some parents are underemployed or working part-time, which impacts their earnings. Minnesota determines the parent’s potential income for child support calculations. Potential income refers to how much you would make working full time in a field relevant to your education and experience.
Gross income counts for Minnesota courts. Some states use net income, which takes out expenses like taxes or retirement investments. Because Minnesota uses gross income, it considers your wages, military payments, pensions, and other gifts or benefits.
Custody doesn’t impact child support, but parenting time does. Parents may have joint custody but will have to pay a certain amount in child support depending on their time with the child. Courts determine this time by what’s in the divorce agreement, not how much time you truly spend with your child.
Parents with 10% to 45% of parenting time pay 12% less in child support. This reduction happens because they have the child for a certain period and will pay for their needs during that time. They don’t need to give the other parent money for that time.
Can You Modify Child Support?
It’s possible to legally modify child support if your situation changes. Some reasons to adjust child support amounts include:
- Losing your job
- Changing jobs
- Increase or decrease in income
- Changes to parenting time
- Increase or decrease in child care costs
- Emancipation of a child
If you have a child with a new partner, this can also affect your child support payments. The courts consider all your children, so they get equal treatment.
You can’t change your child support amount yourself. If any of these life situations happen to you, contact your lawyer for help. They will ensure the change is fair and legal.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support is money to use only on the children’s expenses. Parents can’t use it for themselves. Buying gifts or clothes for the children doesn’t count as child support. Child support covers these three things:
- basic needs
- medical and dental care
- child care
Basic support is everything the child needs to maintain their usual lifestyle. You don’t want to disrupt them too much during the divorce, so it’s essential to contribute to their housing, food, education, transportation, and clothing.
Medical and Dental Support
One parent will need to provide medical and dental insurance for the children, but that doesn’t put the burden entirely on them. The other parent also contributes towards the cost of insurance and helps cover related out-of-pocket expenses.
Child Care Support
Child care refers to the cost of daycare when the parents work. They can work out a preferred daycare together or put it in the divorce settlement. Then they contribute a portion of child support money towards daycare. This agreement makes it so both parents approve of the daycare and pay equally while freeing them both up to work and earn more for the children.
Minnesota’s laws on child support aim to be as fair as possible for the parents, keeping the child’s well-being as the most important aspect. Contact CLB Law today if you have any questions about calculating child support or what it covers. We know Minnesota law and can help you and your spouse take care of your child fairly and equally.