Obligations & Modifications

Child Support

At Sheridan, Dulas & Kins, P.A., our Minnesota family lawyers work with clients just like you to help them understand their child support obligations and seek modifications when appropriate. Contact us to speak with a child support attorney today.

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Child support Overview

What Is Child Support?

Child support comprises the periodic payments a parent makes to help cover a child’s financial needs. This is a court-facilitated process, and both parents remain financially responsible for raising the child. Under Minnesota child support laws, every child is due financial support and has an exclusive right to support from both parents.

Once established by a court order, child support is not optional, so this responsibility cannot be discharged or suspended should a parent declare bankruptcy or decide to relocate. However, child support may be modified under certain circumstances.If you have questions about child support, we can help.

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Forms Of Child Support

In Minnesota, there are three different forms of child support. These include:

Basic Support – Basic support is the type of child support that most clients have heard about. This form of support helps purchase clothing, food, housing, and other necessary expenses related to raising a child.

Medical Support – Medical support is another form of child support that goes toward paying insurance premiums and out of pocket medical, dental, orthodontic, and therapeutic expenses.

Childcare Support – The third type of child support is called Childcare Support, which is a contribution to the payment of work-related or school-related daycare.

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Support calculations

How Is Child Support Calculated

Unlike spousal support, which weighs various factors to determine payments, child support is calculated according to a formula provided by Minnesota’s child support guideline law.

The first step to calculating child support is to determine each party’s income. The law assumes that both parents are able to work full-time. There are some exceptions, of course. For example, one parent may be disabled or work in an industry that does not keep standard nine to five hours, such as nursing.

The next step is to determine the number of “overnights” or overnight equivalents that a parent receives. When reviewing a Court order for child support, we will make sure that the number of overnight stays that a parent has with the child or children is clearly identified.

Once we have determined each parent’s income and the number of overnight stays each parent has with their children, the child support calculation can be completed. Other variables, such as medical costs, insurance and daycare expenses will also be taken in account.

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Modifying An Existing Child Support Order

In order to modify a child support order, one party must show a substantial change in circumstances that renders the current child support order unreasonable or unfair.However, it is not enough to simply state that there has been a change in income or financial position. In some cases, one parent may have a difficult time being able to pay child support. They may be experiencing disability, unemployment, health issues, or incarceration. In Minnesota, child support obligations are not terminated when one income source ends. Child support payments continue even when a parent is unable to pay.

Still, there are circumstances in which a child support order can be modified. In Minnesota, there is a two-pronged test that must be satisfied in order for a child support order to be modified: a parent must be able to prove that the current order would change by at least 20 percent and be at least $75 higher or lower after applying the State’s guidelines for calculating child support.

This calculation is based on the actual income of both parties, unless one party is underemployed or employed on less than a full-time basis. (Remember, the court presumes that both parents are capable of working full time.) The court may impute potential income based on historical earnings, unemployment benefits, or minimum wage.

The law is intended to exclude parties from seeking modifications for minor changes in income or lifestyle. If you have experienced a substantial change in income, your child’s healthcare coverage is no longer available, or an order for child custody has changed, then a modification may be appropriate.

Child support is not retroactively modifiable. One exception though is childcare support. Minnesota law states that a modification can date back to a change in actual expenses impacting the support obligation. For example, if a parent terminates childcare two years prior to a modification, then the paying parent might be able to recoup overpayment in the form of a credit for future payments.

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Get The Legal Help You Need Today

Do you have questions about an existing child support order? Do you want to learn more about child support and how it will impact your divorce? You should contact an attorney who can help you navigate these issues and seek a resolution that is beneficial to you and your family.

At Sheridan, Dulas & Kins, P.A. our family law attorneys have the experience you need. From the outset of your case, we will sit down with you and discuss your specific situation. Together, we can evaluate your financial situation and other factors that may impact your child support obligations.

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