MN Family Law and Child Support

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get from people is “how is the amount of child support determined in Minnesota?”

A few years back, the Minnesota legislature created a set of rules that have been incorporated into what is known as the “Minnesota Child Support Calculator.”  You can see the MN calculator here: http://childsupportcalculator.dhs.state.mn.us/Calculator.aspx  This is the calculator as it appears on the MN Department of Human Services website.

Once the amount of parenting time is established, and once the parties’ incomes are known, the calculation is pretty “automatic.”  However, if you are a concerned parent, if you are a parent who, after the divorce, plans on spending as much time with your child as you can, you need to know that the amount of parenting time you receive has a dramatic impact on whether you receive, or pay, child support.

If you have parenting time between 45% and 55% of the time (that is, about half of the time) and your income is about the same as that of your spouse, then you will likely not have to pay very much child support.  If you have parenting time less than 45% of the time, then the odds are that you will have to pay child support.

This is a factor that you should take into account when negotiating parenting time.  I am not suggesting that this is the only factor.  Obviously, there are others: what is in the child’s best interest, what is your work schedule, what is the other parent’s work schedule, how old are the children, etc.  But, many people enter into a 50 / 50 parenting time arrangement, expecting that the other parent will actually be a parent 50% of the time, only to find out that the other parent doesn’t, and that costs associated with parenting time increase significantly.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to call Fiskum Law at (952) 270-7700.

Daniel Fiskum is a Minnesota divorce attorney who has been practicing since 1992. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and has been named a "Super Lawyer" by the Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics. Mr. Fiskum is currently writing a book for attorneys and non-attorneys entitled "The Streetfighter's Guide to Divorce," which is scheduled for publication in May, 2010. Many of his blog entries will appear in the book. You may contact attorney Fiskum directly at (952) 270-7700. His office is located in the Carlson Towers in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The Fiskum Law website is found at www.fiskumlaw.com.

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