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How is child support calculated in Minnesota?

Under Minnesota law, children have the right to receive support from both parents, and financial support in the form of child support may be ordered by the court. A child's parent or a guardian, such as a grandparent, has the right to request child support. Additionally, the county attorney's office may start a case when parents are not living together or married and either parent is receiving public assistance.

If support is ordered, the amount of payments are often determined based on child support guidelines, which use the income of both parents, how many children are to be supported and the costs associated with raising and caring for those children. It is important to note that, under the guidelines, the amount of time that a paying parent spends with their children can impact the amount of support they are obligated to provide.

Child support is designed to cover three basic costs associated with raising a child: basic, medical and child care. Basic support covers food, clothing, housing and education, and medical support involves providing health and dental insurance and paying for costs that are not covered by insurance. Child care support is also designed to cover expenses related to day care.

It is important that child support orders are equitable to ensure that parents have enough financial support to raise a child without an undue burden on the paying parent. If someone is seeking child support or a modification of an existing agreement or order, a family law attorney may be able to represent an individual in court and explain what is involved in deciding these issues.

Source: mncourts.gov, "Basics on Child Support", September 11, 2014

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