Of all the matters you must attend to during a divorce, those related to your child might be the most important. Both child custody and support are essential to your child’s overall well-being. However, parents sometimes struggle to understand the nature of child support, why it is important and how it is calculated.
Child support is essential
In Minnesota, state law states that your child has the fundamental right to financial support from both parents. While support often comes up during divorce, parents can also seek court-ordered payments even if they were never married and are not living together. Child support can also be broken down into three parts:
- Basic support
- Medical support
- Child care support
What goes into a support order
Judges use a method called “income shares” when calculating how much child support a parent will have to pay. This method takes a variety of factors into account, including both you and your ex’s gross income, how many children you have and the cost of raising children at varied income levels. The cost and availability of medical support also comes into play, as does how much parenting time both you and your ex have.
It is important to be clear and truthful when providing income information for child support orders. Minnesota judges will use potential income — meaning what you might earn — if you fail to provide any information about your income. If this potential income is more than you actually earn, you may end up paying more than you can afford.
Child support does not have to be a negative experience. It can be helpful to remember that any money you might have to pay is to better support your child after a difficult life experience, such as divorce. You can learn more about how child support works by visiting our Minnesota family law website.