Child Support in Minnesota

Child support is an issue for many separated and divorcing parents in Minnesota. And for good reason. See the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Expenditures by Children on Families 2013 Report.  It will cost around $245,340 ($304,480 adjusted for projected inflation) to raise a child born in 2013 to the 18th birthday.*

Child Support in Minnesota
Cost of raising a child is more than you think

NOTE: This estimate doesn’t include any costs associated with pregnancy and child birth, or costs associated with the child after turning 18, such as higher education. In addition, this estimate depends on factors such as, household income, geographical region, number of children, etc… However, you can estimate how much it’ll cost to raise your child by using the USDA’s cost of raising a child calculator. Lastly, see the press release for the average cost of raising a child report, to discover how inflation was projected. 

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 (dissolution, legal separation, annulment or parentage proceeding) for the care, support and education of any child of the marriage or of the parties to the proceeding.
  • In Minnesota, these 3 different components (Basic Support, Child Care Support and Medical Support) make up what people refer to as “Child Support.” 
  • Therefore, in Minnesota, all 3 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 refers predominantly to the cost of meeting the day-to-day needs of the child. For example, basic support involves the cost for food, clothing, and shelter for the child.

PART 2 – Child Care Support

Child care support refers to the cost to place the child with a child care provider. Child care support comes up when a parent has to place the child with a child care provider while working or going to school. In this case, child care support becomes a cost included in child support.  Child support guidelines divide child care expenses based on parents’ income.

PART 3 – Medical Support

Medical support involves the medical and dental insurance costs for the child. Medical support can also include out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses.  Child support guidelines 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.

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 image shows what can be included when determining parental gross income. 

child support in minnesota parental gross income
Sources of Parental Income for Child Support

In addition, gross income on salaries, wages, commissions and other compensation paid by third parties is based upon the amount before participation in any employer-sponsored benefit plan (such as, a flexible spending account or health savings account) or contributions to pensions, 401-K, IRA, or other retirement benefits. 

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.   That part of child support is pretty straightforward.

Instead, disputes regarding child support in Minnesota the disputes often involve the factors that influence child support. Child support is significantly influenced by parenting time and parental income. Thus, parenting time and parental income (especially when one parent in the divorce is self-employed or unemployed) are typically the issues that are disputed. 

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.