Child Support – Guidelines

When setting a support obligation, the court considers Minnesota child support guidelines. The guidelines are a formula used to calculate support obligations. They are reviewed every four years and they help determine support amounts using the:

  • • income of both parents
  • • number of children
  • • cost of raising a child at different income levels
  • • availability and cost of medical support
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    The guidelines consider basic, medical, and child care support.

    An online Child Support Calculator can help estimate the amount of child support the court may order on a case.

  • Gross monthly income
  • Parental income for determining child support
  • Combined basic support amount
  • Percentage contribution
  • Deductions for parenting time
  • Basic support
  • Self support
  • Minimum basic support amount
  • Medical support
  • Child care support
  • Changes in a support order
  • Child support guidelines calculator
  • Gross monthly income

    Minnesota’s guidelines use a formula based on each parent’s monthly gross income to calculate basic support. Gross monthly income is income before tax and certain other deductions. Examples of gross monthly income include:

  • • Salary and wages
  • • Commissions
  • Spousal maintenance
  • • Potential income
  • • Workers’ compensation
  • • Unemployment insurance
  • • Annuity payments
  • • Military and naval retirement
  • • Pension and disability payments
  • • Social Security benefits received by a parent based on the parent’s own eligibility
  • • Social Security benefits paid for a joint child based on a parent’s eligibility
  • • Income from self-employment or operating a business.
  •  

    Gross income does not include:

  • • Most overtime
  • Child support received
  • • Spouse’s income
  • Public assistance
  • • Child support paid
  • Spousal maintenance paid.
  •  

    Minnesota’s law allows a deduction from a parent’s monthly gross income for a maximum of two nonjoint children in the parent's home.

    Parental income for determining child support

    Minnesota guidelines use Parental Income for Determining Child Support (PICS) in a basic support table to set the combined basic support obligation.

    Combined basic support amount

    The basic support amount is determined by using the combined PICS of the parents and finding the corresponding income bracket in the basic support guideline table in Minnesota Statutes, section 518A.35.

    Percentage contribution

    A percentage is calculated for each parent’s share of the PICS. The obligor’s percentage of the combined PICS is multiplied by the combined basic support amount. This amount is the obligor’s basic support obligation.

    Deductions for parenting time

    If a court orders parenting time to the obligor of ten percent (10%) or more; the obligor may receive a deduction from basic support. The amount of the deduction is based on the percentage of court-ordered parenting time.

    Basic support

    Basic Support is for the child’s expenses such as food, clothing, and transportation. Basic support does not include payments on arrears.

    Self support

    An obligor needs money to support him or herself. The guidelines subtract from the obligor’s income 120 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for one person to allow the obligor to have money for self support.

    After subtracting the money for self-support, if the obligor’s income is less than the guidelines for basic support; then the amount of basic support will equal the obligor’s income available for support.

    Minimum basic support amount

    If the obligor’s gross income is less than 120 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for one person, the support guidelines require the following minimum basic support obligation:

  • • $50 per month for one or two children
  • • $75 per month for three or four children
  • • $100 per month for five or more children
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    If the court finds that the obligor has no ability to earn income, the court will not order the minimum basic support.

    Medical support

    Medical support is providing for or contributing to health care coverage for a child. Under the guidelines for calculating child support, it is possible for both parents to have an obligation. Some custodial parents may owe medical support. If a custodial parent has a medical support obligation, the guidelines subtracts that amount from the amount that the noncustodial parent owes for child support.

    Child care support

    Child care support is based on each parent’s share of their combined PICS. Child care support helps pay for work- or school-related child care.

    Changes to a support order

    A court may order changes in a support order. If your income, expenses or other circumstances change, you may be eligible to have your order modified.

    Child support guidelines calculator

    You can estimate the amount of child support that may be ordered on a case using the Child Support Guidelines Calculator. The estimate is informational only. The court has the authority to order child support. The calculator is a tool you can use to estimate a basic support amount for six or fewer children.

    If you have any questions about your child support order, contact your county child support worker or an attorney.


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