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<font size=3><b><i>New Child Support Laws in Minnesota</b></i>

New Changes in Minnesota Child Support
Minnesota child support, Minnesota child support laws, MN child support attorneys and Lawyers

Minnesota Online Calculator

The Child Support Enforcement Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services created an online calculator with instructions to figure out the amount of child support under the new law. Click Child Support Calculator to go to their website.

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In January, 2007, Minnesota's child support laws were modified by statute.

Some Key Terms in Minnesota's Child Support Law

The general legal concept of "child support" is made up of three (3) parts:

  1. Basic support = costs for a child's housing, food, clothing, transportation, and education costs, and other expenses to care for the child

  2. Medical support = health insurance and other medical/dental costs

  3. Child care support = child care costs when parents go to work or school

  • "Joint child" is a dependent legal child of both parents in the support action.
  • "Non-joint child" is a dependent legal child of one, but not both parents, in a support action. [NOTE: A step-parent is not considered the "legal" parent of his/her step-child, unless the step-parent legally adopted the child.]

Important Child Support Factors in Minnesota

  • The Income Shares formula includes the gross income of BOTH parents in figuring the amount of child support.
  • The amount of court-ordered parenting time (visitation) is considered in calculating "basic support." If a parent has the child between 10% and 45% of the time, the parent gets a 12% adjustment (reduction) in child support owed. If the parenting time is less than 10%, there is no adjustment to child support. Percentage of time is generally calculated by counting overnights the child spends with the parent.
  • The law presumes that both parents can or should work and earn an income. The Income Shares formula considers this "potential income" as a factor in determining support.
  • By law, if the parties do not provide specific details about their income, the court will set child support based on other available evidence, including past work experience, the current legal minimum wage, or it will set a minimum amount provided for in the law.

Some of the critical changes are summarized below:

Financial Affidavit Form Required

If parents with joint children are parties to a court action involving child support, the law now requires that each parent complete a Financial Affidavit showing all sources of income. Each parent must serve the other party and file the Financial Affidavit with the court along with their initial pleadings or motion documents. A party must use the Financial Affidavit form provided by the Department of Human Services, and the form and instructions can be downloaded from the DHS website by clicking Financial Affidavit Form.

Six Month Review of Court Orders. Every family court order or divorce judgment that addresses the issues of child support, custody or parenting time will include an attached form and instructions for either party to seek a review of the order after a six month period. Once that written request for review is filed with the Court Administrator, a hearing date will be scheduled. At that hearing, the Court may impose penalties for contempt on either party based on their failure to comply with the court orders. The hearing is designed to review the following issues:

1. Child Support. Whether child support is current. The burden of demonstrating that child support is current will fall upon the person paying support. He/she may request an accounting of child support from the child support enforcement office no less than 14 days prior to the hearing;

2. Parenting Time. Whether both parties are complying with the parenting provisions of the Court order.

Minnesota Child Support Guidelines.

Under the law, the labels related to “custody” are not important. Instead, child support is based on the gross income of each party and the percentage of time each parent spends with the children calculated generally by using the percentage of overnight visits during the year. The child support guidelines form a rebuttable presumption regarding the level of support that should be paid.

The combined incomes of the parents is referred to as “Parental Income for Child Support” or “PICS.”

Every order that applies the new child support laws must also indicate the percentage of time that each parent spends with the child under the existing parenting schedule. Where an order does not specify parenting time it is rebuttably presumed that each parent has the children with them at least 25% of the time.

Child support that is paid under the new statutory guidelines is specifically designated as a payment for “basic support.” Basic support relates to the child’s housing, food, clothing, transportation, education costs and other expenses related to the child’s care. It specifically excludes costs related to child care (daycare) and medical/dental expenses. There are two systems for computing child support under the new guidelines. One system applies where the parents do not have equal parenting time and second system applies where the parents have equal parenting time.

SYSTEM ONE: Parenting Time is not Equal.

The computation of child support where the parents do not have presumed equal parenting time can be calculated as follows:

  1. Determine the gross income of each parent.

  2. Calculate the parental income for determining child support (PICS) of each parent, by subtracting from the gross income the credit, if any, for each parent's nonjoint children under
    section 518A.33;

  3. determine the percentage contribution of each parent to the combined PICS by dividing the combined PICS into each parent's PICS.

  4. determine the combined basic support obligation by application of the guidelines below. In other words, multiply the presumptive child support amount by the percentage of the total income represented by each parent’s individual income. In essence determine each parents proportionate share of total income. This can be accomplished by using each parent’s monthly gross income as the numerator and dividing by gross income as the denominator. For example, if mom earns $2,000 gross per month and dad earns $3,000 gross per month, the total income is $5,000 per month. Child support for one child is presumed to be $780.00 per month. That figure is divided proportionate to income. For dad, that would be $3,000/5000 or 60%. As a result, his obligation would be $780.00 x .6 = 468.00. For mom it would be 40% or $312.00. Since dad has the greater obligation, he is the obligor and would pay support to mom. There is no offset of the amounts

  5. determine the obligor's share of the basic support obligation by multiplying that parents proportionate share of the total income by the combined basic support obligation set forth in the child support table; and

  6. determine the parenting expense adjustment, if any, as provided in by the NonJoint children Adjustment. That means you apply a parenting time adjustment. If the parent has the child less than 10% of the time there is no adjustment. If the parent has the child 10 percent to 45 percent of the time, there is a 12% adjustment. If the parent has the child 45.1 percent of the time to 50 percent of the time, it is presumed that the parenting time is equal. The calculation for equal parenting will be discussed in more detail below. Using the example above, if dad has the children 30% of the time, his obligation is reduced as follows: 468 x .12= 56.16; 468 - 56.16= $411.84. As a result, dad would pay child support to mom in the amount of $411.84 per month.

Percentage Range of
Adjustment

Parenting Time
Percentage

(i)
less than 10 percent
no adjustment

(ii)
10 percent to 45 percent
12 percent

(iii)
45.1 percent to 50 percent
presume parenting time is equal

If Social Security benefits or veterans' benefits are received by one parent as a representative payee for a joint child based on the other parent's eligibility, the court shall subtract the amount of benefits from the other parent's net child support obligation, if any. See Social Security and Veterans Benefits.

SYSTEM TWO: Parenting Time is Equal.

Parents that have presumed equal parenting time (45.1 to 50 percent of the time) would pay no child support if their incomes were also equal. If their incomes are not equal, the parent with the greater income would pay child support as follows

  1. Multiply the combined basic support in the table by 0.75;

  2. Prorate the amount between the parents based on each parent's proportionate share of the combined PICS; and

  3. Subtract the lower amount from the higher amount.

The resulting figure is the obligation after parenting expense adjustment for the parent with the greater parental income for determining child support.

WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN FROM OTHER RELATIONSHIPS?

See Article regarding NonJoint Children.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE OTHER PARENT REFUSES TO WORK FULL TIME?

See Article regarding Potential Income.







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