Minnesota law supports the idea that both parents are financially responsible for any child that they have together. The father traditionally paid child support to the mother of the children. This was almost always because the mother of the children was presumed to be the best custodian of the children and the father was the breadwinner for the family.
These outdated notions no longer rule the world of family law. Today there are many arrangements under which parents of children, who no longer wish to live together, are able to financially and equally support their children. Still, where one parent primarily lives with the children and acts as their custodial parent, the noncustodial parent will most likely be making payments to support their everyday expenses.
The Court Has the Last Word
In every case in Minnesota, the court has the last word on whether a specified amount is fair and reasonable. The court’s involvement will be less where the parents are able to work out an arrangement together, but the court will still need to approve the agreement.
The court is basically performing a balancing test to find an amount of money that is high enough to support the child, yet low enough to keep the noncustodial parent from bankruptcy.
How Child Support is Determined
Under Minnesota law, the following information will be taken into account to determine the appropriate amount of child support the noncustodial parent will pay to the custodial parent:
- Each parent’s gross monthly income. This number will include income from any source; family, lawsuit settlement, work, etc.
- Number of children. The court will take into account how many children live in each of the parents’ homes.
- Child support orders. Where either parent has previously been ordered by a court to make child support payments for another child, the court will consider that amount.
- Spousal maintenance orders. The court will also consider whether the parent has previously been divorced and ordered, in that proceeding, to pay spousal maintenance, or alimony, to another party.
- Government benefits. If either parent is receiving Social Security benefits or benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and those benefits are paid to a joint child due to a parent’s disability or retirement, those benefits will be included.
- Insurance. The court will consider the monthly cost for the child’s medical and dental coverage.
- Childcare costs. This vague calculation is an attempt by the court to quantify the daily expenses a parent will need to cover the costs of raising their child.
- Parenting time. Once the child custody order is complete there will be a percentage of time allocated to each parent. That time states how much of the week or month or year each parent will physically spend with their child.
- Incarceration. If a parent is incarcerated they are generally unlikely to make payments of any kind and this minimum calculation does not apply.
Work With a Divorce Lawyer
Because so much of this calculation is subjective and difficult to quantify, it is best to consult an attorney. Your attorney will help you determine which numbers apply to your situation and help you to understand the details some calculations omit.