The new Minnesota Child Support laws go into effect on August 1, 2018. The laws for child support in Minnesota have undergone many changes in the last twelve years. Anyone who has been through a divorce with children in Minnesota since 2007 knows that parenting time has a huge impact on child support. As parenting time increases, child support goes down. The reasoning for this is the assumption that a parent is spending money on the child when the child is in his/her care. Parents pay for food, activities, hair cuts, gas, etc. when a child with them, so the amount of child support that parents pays decreases accordingly.
Until August 1, 2018, Minnesota Child Support laws were operating with three different levels of child support. A parent with less than 10% parenting time received no discount for parenting time and paid full child support. A parent with parenting time between 10.1% and 45% parenting time received a discount in child support payments in consideration for parenting time. The range though between 10.1% and almost equal is huge in terms of parenting time but those parents paid the same amount of child support. The result was a parent with perhaps a couple days of parenting time a month would pay the same child support as a parent who has parenting time every other weekend and one weeknight a month.
The largest discount for child support came with an equal, or almost equal, parenting time schedule. The difference in child support between a parent with an equal schedule and one with an almost equal schedule could be one-half the amount paid by a parent with “close to equal” parenting time. It was so extreme that it was often referred to as "the cliff". This resulted in parents spending more time and money litigating one night a month to either pay less or receive more child support. The best interests of the children can be lost when parents see the difference parenting time makes to the child support paid or received.
Starting August 1, 2018, the child support calculation take every single overnight into consideration, including holidays and vacations. It also considers different parenting time schedules for different children. It is intended to create a more gradual change in child support and credit each parent for every single overnight the children are in a parent’s care. Every situation is different and the new law decreases current child support for some parents and increases it for others. The change in the law is not beneficial to all child support obligors. Before you make a motion to change child support, you should get an idea of how the new law impacts your specific situation.
The formula is very complicated. Thankfully, the Minnesota Department of Human Services has a calculator available for free online to calculate child support. The calculator is available here:
Calculating the correct number of days to include holidays and vacations can be complicated and the online calculator will not help you do that. You may need to consult a family law attorney to get a better sense of your child support under the new law. If your child support obligation has changed up or down by more than 20%, or by more than $75.00 a month, you can request a change in your child support obligation. Please feel free to contact our office to find out how to change the child support you pay, or the child support you receive.