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Child support criteria followed by Minnesota family courts

Most Minnesota residents who have gone through a divorce were either non-custodial parents and had to pay for child support or were custodial parents and received child support. But the amount of money that a non-custodial parent must pay can vary significantly from couple to couple. Here are some basic guidelines that Minnesota family courts use to help determine child support.

The first and most significant factor in determining child support in Minnesota is the level of income for both the custodial and non-custodial parents. Courts will specifically look at gross and not net income for each. Gross income can come from many types of sources including salaries and commissions, unemployment income, military retirement income and bonuses. Family courts will also consider other sources of income such as pensions, disability payments, workers' compensation income and spousal maintenance.

There are additional aspects that a Minnesota court will take into consideration in order to determine child support. These include the debt levels of both parents, the financial assets of the parents and any special financial needs of the child as well as his or her educational needs and the physical and emotional condition of the child. They will also look into which parent receives the tax exemption benefit for the child and how much of a financial advantage the parent receives from that.

Besides child support payments, a Minnesota court can also make a non-custodial parent pay for additional items for his or her child. These can include adding the child to both the parent's medical and dental insurance plan, providing money for medical care if the paying parent does not have an insurance plan and paying for other child care expenses.

Child support can significantly affect a non-custodial parent's ability to pay for other necessary aspects of their life. Therefore, a non-custodial parent who is having difficulty meeting their payments may want to seek the advice of an experienced child support attorney in order to determine if a child support modification order is feasible.

Source: www.singleparents.about.com, "Minnesota child support guidelines," Accessed July 5, 2015

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