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Understanding the child support process in Minnesota

Child support is an important issue for many divorcing families. To understand child support, and how it is determined, it is important to understand that child support is court-ordered financial support for a child and in Minnesota a child has the right to be supported by both parents. There are different circumstances that may lead to a request for a determination of child support and the establishment of a child support order.

It is important to understand how child support is calculated. There are three primary components of child support. Basic support includes support payments for the child's basic daily needs such as housing, food, clothing, education, transportation and other related expenses necessary for the care of the child. In addition, medical support includes health and dental insurance and payments for health and dental expenses that are not covered by insurance or otherwise reimbursed. Finally, child care support includes payment for child care costs while the parents are away at work or school.

In Minnesota, the amount of support is calculated according to a formula that takes into account the gross income of both parents; the number of children; and the cost of raising children at various income levels. Under Minnesota law, it is presumed that both parents are able to work and earn an income and "potential income" may be used to calculate support. If a parent fails to provide income information, the court will use its own method of calculation. Parenting time can also impact the amount of child support so it is important to understand how the laws in Minnesota are applied based on the specific and unique circumstances of each family.

Child support is an understandably significant concern for most divorcing process. Because of its significance, it is helpful for parents to be familiar with the child support process in advance.

Source: Minnesota Judicial Brach, "Child Support," Accessed Sept. 28, 2016

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