When calculating child support in Minnesota, the court will always start by applying the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines to the parties’ circumstances. The Child Support Guidelines are a method of determining the amount of child support presumed to be owed under Minn. Stat. § 518A and subsequent statutes. You can get an idea for what child support will likely look like in your case by exploring the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines Calculator online at this link. [ Link to Minnesota Child Support Guidelines].
The first important concept to be aware of when thinking about child support is that there are three (3) types of child support in every Minnesota child support case: Basic Support, Child Care Support and Medical Support.
Basic Support is the common concept that most people think of when they think of child support. Basic Support will always be paid by the party who has the children less of the time, and will be paid to the party who has the children more of the time under the applicable Parenting Time Order. If the parties have a 50/50 parenting time schedule, or close to a 50/50 parenting time schedule, then the party with the higher income pays basic support to the party with the lower income. The factual inputs that determine the amounts of the Basic Support include: each party’s income; whether a party pays or receives spousal maintenance; whether a party already pays child support for another non-joint child; whether a party has non-joint children living in his or her home; and, the exact amount of parenting time that each party exercises according to the relevant court Order.
Child Care Support represents a way in which all daycare, and other child care costs, will be divided between the parties, with the basic idea that the parties should contribute to child care costs in proportion to the amount of income that each party earns (with the added complication that the statute builds in compensation for the fact that the party paying for child care gets to write it off on their taxes). The facts that determine the amount of Child Care Support are the income of the parties and the amount of money that is paid for child care for the children.
Medical Support is a way of apportioning each party’s responsibility to pay for a portion of the medical insurance and dental insurance costs solely for the children. The facts that determine the amount of Medical Support are the incomes of both parties, and the amount that one (1) party pays (often through withholdings on his or her paychecks) to maintain medical and dental insurance for the minor children. Please note that it is important to determine how much of the cost for medical and dental insurance is solely for the children. Different plans operate differently; by way of example, many plans will have one (1) premium rate for Employee Only coverage and a different rate for Family coverage. In that case the cost solely for the children would be the premium cost for Family coverage minus the premium cost for Employee Only coverage.
The Guidelines also address a fourth (4th) form of support for the children – the payment of unreimbursed and uninsured medical and dental expenses for the minor children. The Child Support Guidelines will calculate each party’s percentage of income for calculating child support (PICS). The PICS percentage is typically used to divide each party’s responsibility for unreimbursed and uninsured medical and dental expenses. For example, if Party A has a PICS percentage of 67% and Party B has a PICS percentage of 33% then Party A will pay for 67% of co-pays and other uncovered expenses, and Party B will pay for 33% of all such expenses.