In Minnesota, there are a set of child support guidelines that outline in a fairly black and white way what the appropriate amount of child support is for any particular case. What we find is that courts strongly prefer that those guidelines be followed. The litigants often have an opportunity to reach a private agreement on that, but most often the court likes to see guideline support amount supplied.
The formula takes into account just a couple of variables. It takes into account the amount of parenting time that each parent has, takes into account the number of children that you have and then it also takes into account the gross monthly income of each parent.
If one parent is not working or if it is the position of one of the parties that the other is underemployed, meaning that they’re not employed to their full capacity, the court does have the option of imputing income to the under earning spouse. These guidelines then plug in the income, the number of kids, the amount of parenting time and out come the numbers.
The basic support amount is discounted if one parent has a fair amount of parenting time. It’s discounted even further if there is an equal access schedule with the children. In terms of medical support and daycare support, both of those are divided in proportion to the relevant income of each parent, that’s known as the PICS, the percentage of income for child support.
And for example, you’ve got medical insurance premiums or some un-reimbursed medical expense, orthodontic expenses and so forth, the parties typically will exchange receipts and then those expenses will be subject to division again in proportion to your either actual or potential income.