By: Tasya Rivera Martin You’ve heard of child support, but do you really understand what it’s all about and how it’s calculated? Well, keep reading and you’ll learn the basics of what you need to know about child support. Child support in Minnesota is broken down into three categories: basic support, medical support and child care support.
- “Basic support” includes costs associated with the child’s housing, food, clothing, transportation, education and other expenses relating to the child’s care.
- “Medical support” relates to the cost of health and dental insurance for the child(ren).
- “Child care support” refers to costs either parent incurs for work-related or education-related child care.
When calculating child support, we look at the following factors:
- Both parties’ gross incomes;
- How many children the parties have;
- Whether there are any non-joint children (in other words, children from another relationship) and if so, what amount of child support is ordered for those children;
- Whether a parent is ordered to pay spousal maintenance;
- The cost of health and dental care coverage for the benefit of the children and which parent covers such cost;
- The cost of child care and which parent covers such cost; and
- What percentage of parenting time each parent has with the children.
- There is a parenting expense adjustment to the basic child support calculation based upon the percentage of parenting time each parent has with the children.
- Percentage of parenting time is calculated by the number of overnights the children are with each parent.
- The purpose of this expense adjustment is to factor in the expenses the obligor (the parent paying child support) incurs when caring for the children.
- There is no adjustment to the basic child support calculation when the obligor has less than 10% of parenting time with the children. For example, a parent has less than 10% parenting time if they have the children overnight less than 3 times per month.
- If the obligor has parenting time between 10-45%, there is a 12% adjustment to the basic child support calculation. A parent falls into this category if they have anywhere between 2 and 6 overnights of parenting time in every 2 week period of time.
- If overnight parenting time falls between 45.1 – 50%, parenting time is presumed to be equal. If the parenting time is equal and the parents’ incomes are equal, no basic child support will be paid unless the expenses for the children are not equally shared. If however the parenting time is equal, but the parents’ incomes are not equal, the parent having the higher income will be required to pay child support.
- Once you start the process of establishing child support, you’ll hear the term PICS percentage. PICS stands for Parental Income for Determining Child Support. By way of example, if you make $40,000 per year and the other parent makes $60,000 per year, the total combined PICS is $100,000. This results in your percentage share of the combined PICS being 40% and the other parent 60%. This PICS percentage is then applied to calculate each parents’ share of the health and dental insurance as well as the child care. Your PICS percentage contribution toward health and dental insurance and child care is factored into your net child support obligation.
- In addition to your net child support obligation, you are also responsible for paying your PICS percentage share of the children’s unreimbursed or uninsured medical and dental expenses.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services offers an online child support worksheet calculator in which you can fill in the above mentioned factors and the calculator provides you with an estimated amount of child support in your case. Click here to for the calculator: http://childsupportcalculator.dhs.state.mn.us/Calculator.aspx.