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Child support basics in Minnesota

Child support obligations can be confusing and complex in Minnesota. Divorced or unmarried parents would be wise to learn about child support basics to understand how they may be impacted if and when a child support order is needed.

Child support orders are court ordered payments to support a child. Minnesota law stipulates that both parents are required to financially support their child. During divorce, child support disputes may occur if one parent feels like they are paying too much. Before getting in a heated debate over child support with your ex, it may be beneficial to review child support guidelines in Minnesota.

Who is able to request child support in Minnesota? A parent can request a child support order to receive or modify current payments. If a person from a third-party like a grandparent has custody of the child, they are able to request child support. A county attorney's office can also request a child support order for a parent who receives public assistance for the child.

Child support helps provide financial support for children for their basic needs, medical care and child care. Child support includes three parts:

  • Basic support-payments for housing, food, clothing, transportation, education and other expenses.
  • Medical support-payments for health and dental insurance and costs of medical and dental care.
  • Child care support-payments for day care costs.

Child support orders are calculated by using a method called "Income Shares." Minnesota law requires that child support calculations use both parents' gross income, the number of children the couple has and compare the cost of raising a child at different income levels.

The "Income Shares" method requires child support calculations to also consider the amount of parenting time or visitation that has been court-ordered. A parent who has the child between 10 percent and 45 percent of the time may see a reduction in child support owed.

Child support calculations are also based off the assumption that both parents are able to work and earn income so if a parent is laid off or not working currently, they should try to modify their child support order temporarily until they are able to find a job.

Source: Minnesota Judicial Branch, "Basics on Child Support"

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