Child Support in Minnesota

Child Support in Minnesota
Raising a child is more expensive than you may think

Child Support in Minnesota is important, raising a child is costly

Raising a Child is Expensive

Child support in Minnesota is an issue for many parents. And for good reason. See the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Expenditures by Children on Families annual reports.  It will costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise a child to his or her 18th birthday.

Also note, this estimate doesn’t include any costs associated with pregnancy and child birth.  The estimates also don’t include higher education costs.

Of note however, this estimate depends on factors such as, household income, geographical region, and number of children.  If instead you’re interested in estimates more specific to you, try the USDA’s cost of raising a child calculator.

What is Child Support in Minnesota?

Child support in Minnesota is legally defined as:

  • An amount for Basic Support, Child Care Support and Medical Support pursuant to a court order.  Examples include: dissolution, legal separation, annulment or parentage proceedings.  Child support is for the care, support and education of any child of the parties to these proceeding.
  • These three different components (Basic Support, Child Care Support and Medical Support) make up what people refer to as “Child Support.” 
  • Therefore, all three parts (Basic Support, Child Care Support and Medical Support) must be addressed in any child support order.
Child Support in Minnesota - Typess
There are three parts to child support

A Three Part System 

PART 1 – Basic Support

Basic support is the cost of meeting the day-to-day needs of the child. Specifically, basic support involves the cost for food, clothing, and shelter.

PART 2 – Child Care Support

This is the cost to place the child with a child care provider.  Child care support arises when a parent has to place the child with a child care provider while working or going to school. Child support guidelines divide child care expenses based on parents’ income.

PART 3 – Medical Support

Medical support is the medical and dental insurance costs for the child. It also includes out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses.  Child support guidelines also divide medical expenses based on parents’ income.

Child Support in Minnesota - What makes up the components?
What makes up the three parts of child support?

How to Calculate Child Support 

Child support is primarily determined by:

  • The total gross income of both parents, and
  • The parenting time each parent has with the child.

There are other factors that sometimes contribute to a child support award.  The Minnesota statute outlining those factors can be found here. However, gross income and parenting time are always present and therefore the most-argued issues.

Parent’s Income for Child Support

As previously mentioned, child support is based on the total gross income of both parents. Therefore, the gross income of each parent is needed to calculate child support.

Gross income is the total amount of income from a parent before taxes, as defined by Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 518A.29. The following shows what can be included when determining parental gross income:

  • Salaries, Wages, and Commissions
  • Self-employment income
  • Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Benefits
  • Annuity Payments
  • Military Retirement Payments
  • Pension distributions
  • Disability payments
  • Spousal maintenance awards
  • Social security or veterans benefits provided for a joint child
  • Potential income

In addition, gross income on salaries, wages, commissions and other compensation is calculated before reducing for costs like 401(k) and health insurance deductions.

Common Disputes

Child support arguments are rarely over how child support was calculated. The state uses specific equations to calculate the amount of guideline child support.    Because of this, calculation of child support is fairly straightforward.

Instead, child support disputes in Minnesota more often involve the factors that influence child support. Parenting time and parental income, as stated above, are the most prominent of these factors. Therefore, parenting time and parental income are typically the most disputed issues.

Lastly, the financial impact of child support is commingled with parenting time.  Sometimes, parenting time arguments are made because a parent is not interested in parenting time, but rather child support.  Legal professionals and Judges are well aware of this.

For other divorce or family law questions, please consult the list to the left or the FAQ page.  If you’re interested in retaining an attorney to help you, please feel free to contact my office for a consultation using the contact information on the left or the contact form on the Majeski Law home page.  For the Minnesota Child Support calculator, click here.