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Child Care as Child Support

daycare costs, child care costs, child support

A common question for divorcing parties is "who pays for the daycare?"

As an additional obligation, Minnesota Statutes requires parents to contribute to any child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parent's employment or schooling. This is controlled by Minnesota Statutes Section 518A.40 which states in pertinent part as follows:.


Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties and approved by the court, the court must order that work-related or education-related child care costs of joint children be divided between the obligor and obligee based on their proportionate share of
the parties' combined monthly PICS. In other words divided proportionate to their total share of combined gross income.

Child care costs shall be adjusted by the amount of the estimated federal and state child care credit payable on behalf of a joint child which is generally 25%. In other words, if the custodial parent receives a child care credit, that is deducted from the total amount that is divided between parents.  The Department of Human Services is directed to develop tables to calculate the applicable credit based upon the custodial parent's PICS.

If the custodial parents income meets the income eligibility requirements for child care assistance under the basic sliding fee program under chapter 119B, the court must order the obligor to pay the lesser of the following amounts:

  1. the amount of the obligor's monthly co-payment for child care assistance under the basic
    sliding fee schedule established by the commissioner of education under chapter 119B, based on an obligor's monthly PICS and the size of the obligor's household provided that the obligee is actually receiving child care assistance under the basic sliding fee program. For purposes of  this subdivision, the obligor's household includes the obligor and the number of joint children  for whom child support is being ordered; or
  2. the amount of the obligor's child care obligation

The court must require verification of employment or
school attendance and documentation of child care expenses from the obligee and the public authority, if applicable.

If child care expenses fluctuate during the year because of the obligee's seasonal employment or school attendance or extended periods of parenting time with the obligor, the court must determine child care expenses based on an average monthly cost.

The amount allocated for child care expenses is considered child support but is not subject to a cost-of-living adjustment.

The court may allow the parent with whom the joint child does not reside to care for the joint child while the parent with whom the joint child resides is working or attending school. Allowing the parent with whom the joint child does not reside to care for the joint child, is not a reason to  deviate from the guidelines.

When a court order provides for child care expenses
and the public authority provides child support enforcement services, the public authority must suspend collecting the amount allocated for child care expenses when:

  1. either party informs the public authority that no child care costs are being incurred; and
  2. the public authority verifies the accuracy of the information with the other party.

The public authority will resume collecting child care expenses when either party provides information that child care costs have resumed.

If the parties provide conflicting information to the public authority regarding whether child care expenses are being incurred, the public authority will continue or resume collecting child care expenses. Either party, by motion to the court, may challenge the suspension or resumption of the collection of child care expenses. If the public authority suspends collection activities for the amount allocated for child care expenses, all other provisions of the court order
remain in effect.

Call (612) 240-8005 for a consultation.

Call (612) 240-8005

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Recommended Reading


Child Custody How to Protect Your Children and Win Your Case.


Divorce Casualties : Protecting You Children.


Sharing the Children : How to Resolve...
How to Resolve Custody Problems and Get on With Your Life


Financial Custody: You, Your Money, and...

How to Be a Great Divorced Dad

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