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Minnesota Child Support
Child Support in Minnesota

In Minnesota, child support is based on the incomes of both parents and the proportion for child support for which each is responsible. Typically, the parent who earns the most income pays the difference. In the event that a child spends equal time with both parents, support may not be ordered, unless it is proven that one parent is carrying the financial burden.

Misconduct of a parent in the marriage is not to be considered.

Child support is given by the noncustodial parent to the custodian to support the expenses of food, shelter, education, health and other requirements. Child support includes three elements:

  • basic support, which means the costs for a child's housing, food, clothing, transportation, education costs, and other expenses to care for the child;
  • medical support, which means the health insurance and other medical/dental costs; and
  • child care support, which means child care (daycare) costs when a parent has to go to work or school.

Effective January 1, 2007, Minnesota courts calculate child support under the Income Shares model. This is described in Minnesota Statutes Ch. 518A.26.

Based on the gross income of both parents, the Income Shares formula works on the amount of visitation time a noncustodial parent enjoys. When a parent has the child for 10 to 45 percent of the time, he or she gets a 12 percent reduction in support he or she pays. Less than 10 percent effects no adjustment. This percentage generally includes the number of overnights the child spends.

In the absence of specific information about income, the Minnesota court determines child support based on other evidence, including work history, minimum wage, and the minimum amount permitted by law.

In determining child support, the court considers:

  • the financial resources of the child;
  • the financial resources, earnings, income, and assets of the parents;
  • the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved;
  • the physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child;
  • the amount of public aid received by the child or parent;
  • any income tax consequences of the payment of support; and
  • any debt of the parents.

If the parent to receive the support payments is receiving or has applied for public aid, the support payments must be made to the public agency responsible for child support enforcement in Minnesota. There are official child support guidelines contained in Minnesota Statutes Annotated at Chapter 518.551.

Minnesota child support is typically calculated by using a Child Support Worksheet. The worksheet generates an appropriate Minnesota child support obligation according to each spouse's income and other relative numeric factors such as taxes paid and retirement contributions. Once this amount is determined it is essential to take a look at any appropriate deviation factors.

Calculate Minnesota Child Support

Other Expenses and Deductions

Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive. Childcare is considered a mandatory deduction.

The court may also award back child support and reimbursement of public assistance granted to the child.

Child Support Enforcement

The Minnesota Department of Human Services, which is the primary office checking child support, maintains child support payment centers, manages enforcement tools with regard to support laws and handles all disbursements of federal and state child support funding.

A noncustodial parent who is behind in his support in an amount equal to three times his monthly payment may be punished. The deadbeat parent may lose his or her driver's license or have a lien placed against the equity in his or her car. Additional punishment may be contempt of court and jail time.

Anyone affected by a child support order can get more information about the process by calling his or her county child support office or the automated Child Support Help Line at DHS, 651-431-4400, or 1-800-657-3954. Information on child support is available by searching for "child support" on the DHS website. Any individual with an existing IV-D case may access up-to-the minute payment or case information here.


Child support ends when a child turns 18, or when a child turns 20 if that child is attending high school.

Deviation Factors

The parties should consider Minnesota child support deviation factors that may be applicable to the situation. Additional information about Minnesota child support can be found in the Minnesota state statutes.

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