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Child support is an award determined by the courts in a marriage dissolution, legal separation or annulment that provides for the care, support and education of the children of the separating or divorcing couple.
Similar to child custody, child support is an emotional minefield. Support, or the withholding of support, can be used as a weapon between parents which does not serve in the child’s best interest. Often, it is up the lawyers and the courts to find an equitable result so that both parties feel the support awarded is fair.
What does child support cover?
Child support in Minnesota is divided into three categories: basic support, medical support, and child care support. Generally speaking, basic support covers the costs associated with housing, food, clothing, transportation, education and other expenses related to the child’s basic needs. Medical support includes the cost of health and dental insurance. Child care support refers to the costs either parent incurs for work- or education-related child care. In many instances, child support does not cover extracurricular activities such as sports and music lessons. However, if specific expenses exist, payment for these can be allocated in the divorce agreement.
How is the amount of child support determined?
The amount of child support owed by the non-custodial parent is calculated based on a number of factors that can vary from state to state. In Minnesota, for instance, child support is based on the following:
- The number of children the parents have
- The number of children from another relationship (i.e., non-joint 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 it
- The percentage of parenting time each parent has with the children
Find the right arrangement.
Although the amount of child support is based on a number of set factors, it can be negotiated. The method in which support is paid can be stipulated in the divorce agreement, too. With decades of experience in helping families overcome the challenges of divorce, we can help you determine which child support arrangement works best for you. As your attorney, we work to make the process as painless as possible while diligently protecting your best interests.