How do courts divide basic support in Minnesota custody cases?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2023 | Family Law

Parents dealing with child custody and support proceedings may not know what to expect, especially when different rules apply in each state on top of considering the unique circumstances of each case.

Whether one or both parents are obligors to pay child support, it is useful to familiarize themselves with how the courts compute and divide the payment since they would have to adjust their funds and expenditures accordingly.

Understanding the state’s support guidelines

Under Minnesota child support laws, courts must divide the basic support between parents based on their proportionate share of their combined monthly parental income for determining child support (PICS). Moreover, the number of joint children is also a factor in the court’s determination.

Accordingly, the higher the combined PICS range and the number of joint children, the higher the basic support amount. For instance, the basic support for parents with a combined PICS between $15,500 to $15,599 with six joint children is $2,985. However, parents with the same combined PICS but only have one child together would only need to cover $1,569 for basic support.

Nonetheless, the courts will still adjust the basic support to consider the expenses the parent holding physical custody incurs while caring for the child, which includes costs for food, household, clothing, recreation and similar expenses.

Note that parents can agree on a different basic support amount as long as the court approves it.

Does the same rule apply if the child does not live with either parent?

No. In cases wherein the child does not live with either parent, a support order sought against them will instead be based on each parent’s individual PICS. Moreover, the court will not apply the parenting expense adjustment in these cases, unless a parent has a court-ordered parenting time.

Child custody and support can be a challenging maze to navigate. Without a proper understanding of the process, parents may not fully know their options. Being familiar with how the court works can give them confidence to make informed choices.