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Minneapolis Child Support Attorneys

Minnesota Child Support

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In Minnesota, it is presumed that parents of a minor child have a duty to provide financial support for their children.  Therefore, parents are not free to stipulate to a waiver of child support.

Child support is broken down into three categories; Basic Support, Medical Support, and Childcare support.  The total child support amount is the combination of these three categories.

Basic Child Support. Basic support includes the dollar amount ordered for a child's housing, food, clothing, transportation, and education costs, and other expenses related to the child's care, but does not include any contribution for child care expenses and the child's medical and dental needs.  In order to determine the appropriate amount of basic child support, the court must use the following procedure:

  1. Determine the gross income of each parent;
  2. Calculate the parental income for determining child support (PICS) of each parent;
  3. Determine the percentage contribution of each parent to the combined PICS;
  4. Determine the combined basic support obligation by application of the guidelines;
  5. Determine the obligor's share of the basic support by multiplying the percentage figure from (3) above by the combined basic support obligation figure from (4) above; and
  6. Determine the parenting expense adjustment, if any.

The Minnesota Statutory Guidelines table provides a rebuttable presumption for the amount of basic support and must be used in any proceeding to establish or modify basic support.  The Court has the discretion to deviate upward, or downward, from the guidelines if there are extenuating circumstances which justify such a departure.

Medical Support. Every Order must state whether appropriate health care coverage for the joint children is available and, if so, sate:

  1. The parents' responsibilities for carrying health care coverage;
  2. The costs of premiums and how the cost is allocated between the parties;
  3. The circumstances, if any, under which an obligation to provide health care coverage for the joint child will shift from one parent to the other.

If appropriate health care coverage is not available for the joint children, the Order must state whether a contribution for medical support is required.  The Order must also set out how any unreimbursed or uninsured medical expenses will be allocated between the parties.

Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the court must order that the cost of health care coverage and all unreimbursed and uninsured medical expenses be divided between the parties based on their proportionate share of their combined monthly PICS.

Child Care Support. Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the court must order that work-related or education-related child care costs of joint children be divided between the parties based on their proportionate share of their combined monthly parental income for determining child support (PICS).

PICS. This is the combined gross income of both parents.

Gross Income. Gross income includes any form of periodic payment to an individual, including, but not limited to, salaries, wages, commissions, self-employment income, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, annuity payments, military and naval retirement pension and disability payments, spousal maintenance received under a prior order of the current proceeding, social security or veterans benefits provided for a joint child, and "potential income."

Potential Income. If the court finds that a person is voluntarily unemployed, underemployed, or employed on a less than fulltime basis, or if there is no direct evidence of any income, child support must be calculated based on a determination of "potential income."  There are three methods for determining potential income:

  1. The person's probable earnings level based on employment potential, recent work history, and occupational, qualifications in light of prevailing job opportunities and earnings levels in the community;
  2. If a parent is receiving unemployment compensation or workers' compensation, that parent's income may be calculated using the actual amount of the unemployment compensation or workers' compensation benefit received; or
  3. The amount of income a parent could earn working fulltime at 150% of the current federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher.
 
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