In Minnesota, divorce happens at 7.1 per 1,000 people. Although the rate has already decreased, it still leaves many households with parents negotiating child support and custody.
The best way to handle these issues is to work with family lawyers. They can represent families and promote their best interests. They can also provide the soundest advice based on their experience and knowledge.
However, if you’re one of the couples in the middle of a divorce, basic ideas on the Minnesota laws can help you participate better in the discussion and decide more effectively.
For this post, let’s talk about child support:
1. How Much Should a Parent Pay for Child Support?
The law doesn’t provide a set amount. Instead, it depends on many factors, such as the income of both parents, who has the legal or physical custody of the children, how long the children stay with each parent, and economic changes, to name a few.
Minnesota uses a specific formula to determine the figures, and you can use this calculator for estimates. In general, the state recognizes “shared income,” which means they consider the economic capabilities of both parents. This is because the court assumes the parents must provide for their children and strive to earn income.
These amounts are also not fixed. Every two years, parents can re-assess their child support payments. Parents can also reduce the figures by 12% if the kids stay with them for 10% to 45% of the time.
2. What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support must cover the three basic needs of kids:
- Basic support
- Medical support
- Childcare support
Basic support refers to the payments that meet the children’s needs for survival. These include food, clothing, transport, and education.
Meanwhile, medical support is intended for all health-related expenses. Some examples are medical insurance, dental checkups, doctor’s appointments, ER visits, reimbursements for uninsured dental and health expenses.
Lastly, childcare support helps parents fund their children’s daycare costs when neither parents can look after them at certain times because of work or other commitments.
3. Who Can Request for Child Support?
Either of the parents can ask for child support. However, family law often looks out on the best interests of the child. If none of them seek for such payments, other parties can step in.
Under Minnesota law, third parties like grandparents or other relatives can ask the court to compel parents to provide child support. The court attorney’s office can do the same if both parents are receiving public assistance.
4. Is a Paternity Test Necessary?
The answer is no if the man acknowledges himself as the legal father of the children. However, the court can still request it to answer certain questions.
Either of the parents can also demand it, especially if the supposed father denies parenthood. The man can undergo genetic testing in the county, where he needs to pay certain fees, or go to his preferred lab.
If the result says there’s a 99% or greater probability he is the father, he might need to pay child support. If the probability is around 92% to 99%, he can contribute to a reserve account. Neither parent can use it until the court says otherwise.
All these points help ensure both parents can look after the interest of the kids without compromising their finances, which they also need to start anew.