How Child Support is Calculated
As stated in our article, Child Support in Minnesota, child support in Minnesota consists of basic support, child care support and medical support.
What Influences Payment Amount
- Parental Income. Child support awards since 2007 in Minnesota are calculated based on the monthly income received by both parents. Minnesota has rules regarding what’s parental income. Typically, any kind of regular income is included.
- Potential Income. If one parent is not employed, and the court finds that he or she is able to work, income can be “imputed” to that parent. This is called potential income. In addition, Minnesota presumes that parents are able to work a 40-hour work week, absent evidence to the contrary.
3. Parenting Time. As of August 2018, Minnesota replaced it’s 3-tiered Parenting Expense Adjustment (PEA) system.
Specifically, all parenting time orders must now have an overnight by overnight calculation for the amount of parenting time each parent has. For example, instead of seeing a percentage of parenting time, such as 49%, a parenting time order now needs to specify that the parent has 179 overnights. In addition, the PEA calculation is based on an average of two years.
Other Factors That Impact Child Support
In general, the two most significant factors that influence payments are parental income and parenting time. However, the following are additional factors that can change the total:
- Spousal maintenance awards
- Medical and dental coverage costs for Joint children
- Child support payments for Non-joint children
- Medical assistance or MinnesotaCare for Joint children
- Number of Joint Children
- Number of Non-joint Children
- Potential Parental Income
- Child Care Costs for Joint Children
- Child Care Assistance for Joint Children
- Social Security Benefits
- Veterans Affairs Benefits
How To Calculate Child Support
In Minnesota, you can use the Child Support Guidelines Calculator. This works for calculating what you owe or are owed.
You need to know each parent’s gross monthly income. In addition, you need to know what percent of parenting time each parent has. Specifically, a parent will need to know the number of overnights he or she has with the child over the course of a year.
Lastly, a parent will need to know information involving the additional factors that are listed above. For example, a parent will need to be able to answer questions such as, “What is the monthly amount each parent is ordered to pay for spousal maintenance?,” and “What is the monthly cost of health care coverage for the joint child(ren)?”
Why the Guidelines Calculator Matters
Although it is a useful tool for these purposes, the calculator is not just for ballpark estimates. The guidelines calculator is used as the default method for calculating support in Minnesota.
In many divorce and custody cases, a print out of the child support guidelines calculations will be attached to the court paperwork for the judge to review. Although the court has final authority when determining the amount of child support that will be ordered, the child support guidelines calculator plays a significant role.
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.