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Minnesota child support: A guide for divorcing parents

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Family Law

Divorce is a difficult process, and child support can be a source of confusion and concern for both parents. Minnesota uses a specific set of guidelines to determine child support obligations, aiming for a fair and balanced approach that supports the child’s well-being. This article provides a breakdown of how child support is calculated in Minnesota and offers guidance on navigating the process.

Calculating child support in Minnesota

Minnesota child support is based on a statutory formula that considers several factors:

  • Income of both parents: Gross income from all sources, including wages, salary, bonuses and self-employment income, is factored in.
  • Number of children: The number of children being supported affects the overall support obligation.
  • Daycare costs: If one parent pays for daycare, a portion of those costs may be added to the child support calculation.
  • Medical expenses: Uncovered medical expenses for the child can also be factored in.

This means that there can be a significant difference in family circumstances and the child support the court will order.

Child support guidelines: A starting point

The Minnesota Child Support Guidelines provide a table that uses the combined parental income and number of children to determine a presumptively correct child support amount. However, this is just a starting point. Judges can deviate from the guidelines based on special circumstances, such as high daycare costs, extracurricular activities and extraordinary medical needs of the child.

The child support process: What to expect

Child support can be established through an agreement between parents or by court order. Here’s a simplified overview of the process:

  • Initial determination: Many counties offer child support calculators to get an initial support estimate.
  • Mediation: Mediation can help parents reach an agreement on child support outside of court.
  • Court order: If an agreement cannot be reached, a judge will determine child support based on the guidelines and individual circumstances.

Sometimes, when a parent refuses to pay child support, it can result in serious consequences, including wage garnishment.

Modifications: Adjusting child support over time

As circumstances change, child support may need to be modified. Common reasons for modification include:

  • Change in income: Child support may need to be adjusted if a parent’s income significantly increases or decreases.
  • Change in daycare costs: Significant changes can be a reason for modification.
  • Change in medical needs: If a child develops special needs, the support amount may need to be adjusted.

Going through a divorce can be stressful, but understanding how child support is calculated in Minnesota can help ease the burden. If you have further questions or need legal guidance specific to your situation, consider consulting with an attorney who focuses on family law.