Top 5 Things to Know About Child Support in Minnesota
- Income Share Model. Many parents assume that child support is only based on the obligor or non-custodial parent’s gross monthly income. Minnesota, along with many other states, applies what is called the income-shares model. Under this model, child support is based on both parents’ incomes. Even if one parent is not working, income will be “imputed” to them. Minnesota law assumes that an adult, unless they suffer from some sort of physical or mental disability, is able to work full time at 40 hours per week. If a parent is not working, the court will impute income to that parent based on the ability of that parent to work 40 hours per week at 150% of minimum wage. Currently, this calculates to $1,884.00 per month.
- Child support is defined as three different types of support. Under Minnesota law, child support is defined as a monetary amount for three types of support: (1) basic support, (2) medical support, and (3) child care support. Basic support is money for the child’s housing, food clothing, transportation, and other expenses related to the child’s care. Child support orders in Minnesota will generally require that the obligor, or non-custodial parent, contribute to the basic support of the minor child. Depending on the parents that pays for dependent medical insurance and child care (i.e. daycare costs), the obligor-non custodial parent may also be required to contribute to the obligee-custodial parent’s cost of medical insurance and day care costs.
- Child Support Calculator. The Minnesota Department of Human Services offers an online calculator, which parents can use to determine the appropriate amount of child support in their given case. This is an easy way for parents to find out either how much they may owe the other parent or how much they should be receiving from the other parent.
- Child support lasts until a child is 18, or 20 and still in high school. Many parents are under the misconception that child support ends automatically upon a minor child turning the age of 18. This is wrong. MN law defines a child as an individual under 18 years of age, and any individual under age 20 who is still attending high school, or an individual who, by reason of physical or mental condition, is incapable of self-support. Therefore, if you have a minor child that turns 18 before he or she graduates from high school, child support will last until that child graduates, unless that child turns 20 in high school, at which point child support will also stop. Under Minnesota law, parents do not have a duty to pay for college or support their children past the end of their child support obligation. However, parents can voluntarily choose to support their children.
- Child support can always be modified in the future. Many parents, especially obligors, think that once child support is ordered it will stay at that amount until the minor child turns 18 or 20, if still in high school. Parents always have the option of modifying their child support obligation, either increasing or decreasing the obligation, by filing a motion to modify child support. The parent filing the motion needs to show that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” since the last order that renders a reason for the existing order to be changed. Some substantial changes include (1) a substantial increase or decrees in gross income of an obligor or oblige, (2) substantial increase or decrease in the need of the obligor, oblige or minor children, (3) receipt of public assistance, (4) change in available health care coverage, (5) increase or decrees in day care costs, or (5) the emancipation of a child. If one of these scenarios applies to a parent, that parent must file a motion to get the child support changed, otherwise the child support will continue as ordered. So for example, if a parent loses his or her job, that parent should immediately file a motion to modify child support to lower their obligation to prevent an accrual of arrearages for child support owed.
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