When a child has unmarried parents, whether they were born to an unmarried couple or their parents are seeking a divorce, Minnesota law holds both parents responsible for making sure the child is taken care of financially. The law assumes that the custodial parent - the one who lives with the child - provides for their basic needs on an everyday basis.
The noncustodial parents is held responsible by a requirement that they pay child support, a monthly financial contribution intended to help address the child's needs and offer additional support.
Three types of child support exist under state law. The first is called "basic support," which is intended to cover the child's basic needs. This is a monthly payment of an amount determined by the court based on the parents' financial information, the size of the family and other factors.
Some noncustodial parents may also be responsible for providing "medical support," which helps cover the child's medical needs. Medical support may come in the form of providing health and dental insurance for the child (whichever parent has better coverage will likely do this), contributing money towards the other parent's insurance or additional funds to help cover medical costs.
Similarly, "child care support" involves a contribution to costs for child care, such as daycare or babysitting costs relating to the custodial parent's education or employment. This enables custodial parents to hold down a job and support the children without being overly burdened by child care costs.
In our next post we'll discuss how child support is calculated in Minnesota.
Source: The Alexandria Echo Press, "How basic child support is calculated in Minnesota," Michelle Lawson, April 3, 2013