Children need financial support from both parents. According to Minnesota law, a child has the right to be financially supported by both parents. Child support is ordered whenever a married couple with children divorces or legally separates or when an unmarried couple has a child and paternity is established. As divorce attorneys, we calculate child support based on the MN Child Support Guidelines.
Minnesota law also assumes that both parents can or should work and earn an income. If one parent does not work, is underemployed, or is employed less than full-time, then the Court can consider that parent's "potential income" when calculating child support. If a parent is working, then the Court will calculate child support based on that parent's gross income. Gross income includes all regular and period sources of income (including wages, unemployment compensation, military payments, pensions, disability benefits, payments from a trust or gifts, and self-employment income). The law no longer "nets" out a parent's income, which means any deductions from a parent's income (such as income taxes, retirement contributions, or union dues) are NOT subtracted from a parent's income available for calculating child support. However, self-employed parents can deduct ordinary and necessary business expenses from their income.
Child Support consists of three parts:
IMPORTANT NOTE: Buying gifts or paying for clothes, extracaricular activities or other items for the child does NOT count as child support. The MN Family Court has to consider all three types of support to determine the total amount of child support to be paid each month. The Court may order child support, "reserve" child support (which means it is not paid now), or may "deviate" when ordering child support (which means order more or less child support than is calculated by the Child Support Guidelines).
People often think that the parent who has physical custody will receive child support but in Minnesota child support is not affected by custody; instead, the amount of court-ordered parenting time (visitation) is considered in calculating child support. Child support may still be paid even if the parents share joint physical custody. If a parent has between 10% to 45% parenting time, then that parent will receive a 12% adjustment (reduction) in the child support owed to the other parent. Keep in mind that this adjustment in the child support owed is based on the parenting time granted by a divorce decree or custody order - not based on the actual amount of parenting time that is exercised.
If you already have a child support order in place that has already been determined, but your situation has changed since the determination was made, we can assist you in modifying your child support obligations. If your situation includes any of the following, we may be able to help lower or adjust your child support:
We also protect your interests in contempt of court proceedings or to enforce child custody orders.
The family & divorce lawyers at Martin & Wagner, P.A. in Rogers, MN are compassionate, experienced and dedicated to representing you and your family's needs. For more information or to schedule a free 1/2 hour consultation with a Minnesota divorce and family law attorney, call Martin & Wagner, P.A. at 763.425.6330 or complete our Contact Form.