Child Support Lawyers in Minnesota
Child support is a relatively straightforward matter, because it is based upon a specific formula. However, issues such as a parent’s “potential” income, or determining income for a self-employed parent, can present challenges. In some situations, a deviation from the support guidelines is appropriate.
Types Of Child Support
Under Minnesota law, “child support” is comprised of three specific types of support: (1) basic support; (2) medical support; and (3) daycare support.
Basic Child Support
Basic support involves the traditional notion of child support – a cash payment made from one parent to the other, each month, for the benefit of the child.
Medical support involves a division of the medical and dental insurance premiums for a child, along with an allocation of any uninsured medical and dental expenses. Medical support is determined by comparing the relative incomes of the parties.
Daycare support involves a division of work-related childcare expenses. Costs for childcare outside of a parent’s pursuit of work or education are not divisible among the parties.
Podcast: Overview of Minnesota Child Support Issues
Minnesota Child Support Guidelines
The amount of child support paid from one parent to the other is based on a formula known as the “Minnesota Child Support Guidelines.” These guidelines are presumed to determine appropriate support levels, but are subject to an upward, or downward, deviation, if the circumstances justify. It’s best to have experienced child support attorneys in Minnesota evaluate your situation.
In the vast majority of cases, the judge will order support amounts based upon the guidelines. For that reason, child support is a rare “black and white” legal issue.
The support guidelines take into account the following variables: (1) the gross monthly income (or potential gross monthly income) of each parent; (2) the number of minor children; (3) the amount of parenting time exercised by each parent; (4) the cost for a child’s medical and dental insurance premiums; and (5) the cost for a child’s daycare.
Once these variables are placed into the child support calculator, specific support figures are determined with the expert assistance of our child support lawyers in Minnesota.
Income for W-2 wage earners is easily determined by reviewing paystubs. The income variable can be difficult to ascertain if a parent is self-employed, underemployed or unemployed. In those situations the court can “impute” income, based upon a parent’s earning history, or determine “potential income” based upon a parent’s educational background and current job opportunities.
Basic Support Examples
If both parents earn equal income, and share equal parenting time, no basic child support will change hands. However, the parties will still need to divide medical and childcare costs.
On the other hand, even if the parents share equal parenting time, if one parent earns significantly more than the other, the higher income earner will pay some amount of basic child support to the other. That amount is much smaller, however, than would be paid if the higher income earner exercised a limited parenting time schedule.
A parent who cares for a child a good majority of the time (greater than 54.9%) will receive a basic support award from the other parent – even if the primary parent’s income is higher than the non-primary parent.
Medical And Daycare Support Examples
If the parents earn equal income, medical insurance premiums and uninsured medical expenses are divided equally. However, if one parent, for example, earns $100,000 per year, and the other parent earns $50,000 per year, the higher income-earner will pay 67% of the medical costs, while the lower-income earner will pay 33%.
Daycare expenses are apportioned in the same manner as medical expenses.
Children Eligible For Support
In Minnesota, a child is eligible for child support until they “emancipate.” Emancipation is defined as attaining the age of 18, or high school graduation, whichever is later (but in no event past the age of 20).
In some situations, a child is deemed to emancipate before the age of 18, if, for example, they join the military, or are self-supporting. Our experienced child support attorneys in Minnesota can help determine if that’s the case.