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How is child support calculated in Minnesota?

In Maple Grove, Minnesota, and across the state, a child has the legal right to be financially supported by his or her parents. When a court orders payments for the upkeep and wellbeing of a child, such payments are called "child support." Child support can be sought by a parent, a third-party custody holder or by a Minnesota county attorney's office.

Generally, when parents are living separately, either or both parents can ask the court to issue an order for child support, fixing an amount to be paid per month. A grandparent may ask for a child support order if the grandparent has established third-party custody. The county attorney's office can initiate a child support case if one or both parents receive state assistance for the child and they are unmarried and living separately.

Child support can be categorized as one of three varieties: basic, medical and child care. Basic support is calculated on the basis of the estimated expenditure for the child's housing, clothing, food, education, transportation and other expenses needed to raise a child. Medical support is for the healthcare expenses for the child, such as dental and health insurance. Child care support includes daycare costs when the parents go to school or work.

In Minnesota, the law requires a method of child support calculation known as "income shares." This income shares formula takes into account the gross earnings of both parents and the parenting or visitation time ordered by court. It is presumed by the law that both parents are capable of working and therefore should be employed and generate an income. Therefore, the income shares formula also takes into consideration "potential income" as a determining factor for any child support calculation.

Source: MNCourts.gov, "Basics on Child Support," Accessed on Oct. 30, 2014

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