Prior to 2007 custody labels were very important under Minnesota law.
After January 1, 2007, they become less important. Prior to January 1
2007, where one parent is awarded "sole physical custody", the other non-custodial parent may be required to pay guideline child support. This can be a significant financial effect.
If parents share joint physical custody, Minnesota Courts have stated that a presumption exists that child support must be based on an offset in child support based on parenting time and the respective net income of each parent. This is called a Hortis-Valento offset. In short, even if physical custody is shared, there may be a child support obligation.
STEP ONE: DETERMINE NET INCOME
In order to calculate the offset you must first determine the net income of each party. Net income is determined after subtracting amounts allowed by Minnesota Statutes Section 518.551. These deductions include, FICA, Federal Tax, State Tax, Medical Insurance, a reasonable retirement plan, uniforms, union dues, and any support for preexisting children from another relationship.
Let's assume as an example that there are two children and the mother earns $1500 net per month and the father earns $2500 net per month
STEP TWO: APPLY CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
After determining each party's net income, you then apply to each income the appropriate guideline child support from Minnesota Statutes §518.551. In most cases, child support for one child will be25%, 2 children 30% and 3 children 35%.
In our example, we stated that there were two children. As a result, mother would have a child support obligation of $450 per month. ($1500 net income x .30 child support guidelines= $450).
By contrast, father would have an obligation of $750. ($2500 net income x .30 child support guidelines=$750).
STEP THREE: ADJUST FOR TIME WITH CHILD
The third step requires and adjustment in child support based on the amount of time each parent spends with the children. Remember, joint physical custody does not necessarily mean that each parent has the children one half of the time.
If the father has the children 45% of the time and the mother has the children 55% of the time, the calculation looks like this:
MOTHER: $450 child support obligation multiplied by the percentage of time the children are not with her. $450 x .45=$202.50
FATHER: $750 child support obligation multiplied by the percentage of time the children are not with him. $750 x .750=$412.50
STEP FOUR: OFFSETTING AMOUNTS
The fourth and final step involves simply offsetting the two obligations. In our example, father would pay $412.50 per month and mother would pay $202.50 per month. By subtracting the lesser obligation from the greater we arrive at $210, the amount father must pay to mother each month.($412.50 - $202.50 = $210.00)