In Minnesota, both parents have a duty to support their children. This is true whether the child was born during a marriage or outside of a marriage. The parents' responsibility for supporting their children depends on their respective incomes.
Minnesota uses the "income shares" method of determining child support. It is a complicated formula that takes into consideration the incomes of both parents, the cost of medical and dental insurance premiums for the children and the cost of work or education related child care.
A basic support obligation is established based on both parent's gross incomes (income before taxes and other deductions), and then that basic support is allocated between the parents based on their relative incomes. In addition, each parent is generally required to pay some portion of the dependent medical and dental insurance, the uninsured medical and dental expenses and childcare expense. For example, if Mom has gross monthly income of $2,000 and Dad has gross monthly income of $1,000, they have a combined income for child support purposes (PICS) of $3,000. Mom will have responsibility for 2/3 of the child's basic support needs and Dad will have responsibility for 1/3 of those basic support needs. This basic support calculation will then be modified depending on the amount of time each parent has with the children. In addition, mom will be responsible for roughly 2/3rds of the cost of the medical and dental insurance, the uninsured medical and dental expenses and daycare costs. Dad will be responsible for roughly 1/3rd of the same. This is an extremely simplified example, but hopefully you get the idea.
The formula is more complicated if one or both parties are self-employed. In those cases, the advice of an experienced family law attorney is very important.
If one or both parents have no income, the State assigns a potential income to them. It makes some assumptions about each parent's ability to earn money and projects that income upon them whether they actually have that income or not.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services has published a child support calculator at http://childsupportcalculator.dhs.state.mn.us. To get an idea of what your child support obligation is likely to be, you can enter the gross incomes of both parties, the cost of medical and dental insurance for the child (not for the parents – just for the child) and the cost of work or education related child care.
A child is eligible for support until the child attains the age of 18 years, enters the armed forces of the United States, is emancipated, is self-supporting, is deceased, is incapable of self-support by reason of physical or mental condition, or until such child attains the age of 20 years if the child is still attending secondary school. It is possible that a child with disabilities may always need the support of both parents.