Children deserve the emotional and financial support of both parents, even if their parents file for divorce. Minnesota is one of many states in the nation that uses the income shares model when determining child support, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This model ensures children have the same financial support and the same lifestyle that they would have if their parents had remained married.
When calculating the child support amount, the judge factors in both parents’ incomes, as well as how many shared children involved in the case. In addition, state statutes list other considerations taken into account, including the following:
- Parenting time, or how much time the children spend with each parent
- Travel time and distance parents live from one another
- Child care expenses
- Health care expenses, such as copays, monthly insurance premiums and deductibles
- Educational costs
- Recreational expenses
The court may look at each parent’s occupation, health and age in addition to those other factors. He or she may also look at whether one parent stayed home with the children while the other parent worked or went to school. In general, the court looks at the circumstances, needs and resources of each parent and the children. Ultimately, the children’s best interests and needs are most important in the case.
Once the final child support amount becomes part of the divorce decree, it is not set in stone. Life changes may occur, and as a result, the judge presiding over the case may choose to modify the child support amount. There are certain restrictions on whether the case qualifies for a child support modification.