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Contribution to Daycare

A common question for divorcing parties is "who pays for the daycare?" As an additional obligation, Minnesota Statutes now require the non-custodial parent to contribute to any child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parent’s employment or schooling. The expenses are divided only after deducting twenty-five percent (25%) from the total daycare costs since the custodial parent is entitled to a tax deduction in that approximate percentage each year. In other words, if the daycare costs equal $800 each month, the portion divided between the parents is only 75% of that figure or $600. Those allowable child care costs are divided between the parties proportionate to their income.

For example, let’s say dad earns $2,000 net per month and mom earns $3,000 net per month. Let’s say dad has physical custody of the one minor child from the relationship. Mom would have a guideline child support obligation pursuant to Minnesota Statutes of $750 for one child (25% of her net income). Each parties’ contribution to daycare expenses is then calculated based on their proportionate share of the total household income.

Mom has $2,250 each month after deducting her child support obligation of $750. Dad will have $2,750 per month after adding in the child support paid to him by mom. The total income is $5,000. Therefore, mom’s proportionate responsibility for daycare expenses is calculated by determining her percentage of the total income. That percentage is determined by dividing mom’s income by the total income ($2,250 divided by $5000 = .45) or 45%. In this example, mom’s proportionate responsibility would be 45% of the allowable child care costs or $270 ($600 x .45).


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When custody is in dispute, a Minnesota court issues a custody order that is in the "best interests of the child." Joint custody will only be awarded if parents have shown the court that they are willing and able to cooperate. A court also examines several factors with the child's welfare in mind. They include (1) the child's preference, (2) each parent's health, (3) the child's health and whether any special needs exist, (4) each parent's relationship with the child, (5) which parent has been the child's primary caretaker, (6) each parent's ability to provide a stable environment for the child, (7) any history of domestic violence or child abuse and (8) any allegations of abuse.
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