Child Support Basics in Minnesota

Child support is a common element of a divorce involving minor children, paternity, and custody actions in Minnesota. A child support order can include three different components: basic child support, medical support, and child care support.

Basic support is almost always a part of a child support order as it includes payments from one parent (payor/obligor) to the other (payee/obligee) for daily needs such as food, shelter, and clothing for the child(ren).

Medical support is payment for the child(ren)’s health, dental, and/or vision insurance premiums, and also the child(ren)’s uninsured expenses such as co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions, eyeglasses, orthodontia, etc.

Child care support is a payment for child care or daycare expenses that are work- or education-related.

Unless otherwise agreed to by the parents and approved by the court, when establishing basic support, the court must calculate this obligation. To calculate basic child support, the court relies on the Minnesota Child Support Calculator. This calculator considers the income (or potential income) of each parent, how many joint children are involved, spousal maintenance obligations (if any) for either parent, any other non-joint living in either parent’s home, and the amount of time the child(ren) are in the care of each parent. Once these details are determined, the court will use the calculator to determine the amount of basic child support owed.

This same calculator is also used to determine what is called the Parental Income for Child Support (PICS), which is a proportion (or percentage) of income from the parents to determine each parent’s obligation for out-of-pocket expenses for the minor children. For example, Father and Mother each earn $50,000 per year. Because the parents’ income is equal, and the PICS is based on the parents’ income, the PICS would be 50/50. If Father were to earn $70,000 per year, and the Mother earns $30,000 per year, the PICS would be 70 percent for Father and 30 percent for Mother.

The PICS percentage is then applied to allocate the proportionate share each parent is responsible for when either party incurs expenses such as medical premiums, unreimbursed medical expenses, and child care expenses.

If you have any questions about child support, how it is calculated, or how much you should pay or receive in child support, contact the experienced family law and divorce lawyers at the Bolt Law Firm to discuss your legal rights and options. Call us at (763) 292-2102