When parents are separated, there will almost always be a child support obligation from one parent to the other to support the children financially.  Basic child support is determined based off of a calculation, taking into account both parents’ gross monthly incomes and the amount of time each parent spends with the children.  More information on how to determine basic child support is available on the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ website.  But how are other costs, such as daycare or medical expenses, divided between the parents?

Basic Child Support

In general, basic child support is not negotiable, though this can vary depending on your situation.  However, extra expenses may be divided in any way that the parties agree.  If one party earns significantly more money than the other, that parent may assume the costs of all extra expenses.  More commonly, the expenses are shared equally by the parents.  However, the most common way the expenses are divided is based on the Parental Income for Determining Child Support, known as “PICS”.


PICS is determined by looking at the total amount of income available for support of a child per month and figuring out what percentage each parent contributes to that amount.  For example, if Parent A earns $1000 per month and Parent B earns $2,000 per month, then the total amount available to support the children is $3,000; Parent A earns 33% of that, and Parent B earns 67%.  Generally, Parent A would be responsible for 33% of all monthly medical insurance premiums, any unreimbursed medical expenses, and daycare expenses for the children, and Parent B would be responsible for 67% of those expenses.

If the parties agree to share in additional expenses for the children such as costs for extracurricular activities or private school tuition, those costs are generally divided in the same way that the parties agreed to.