Are Child Support Payments Mandatory?

Some people mistakenly believe that if they have joint custody or equal parenting time that automatically means child support does not exchange hands. In 2007, Minnesota changed the way child support was calculated. Now, both parents’ incomes, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, and the cost of medical and dental premiums and daycare costs are all examined to determine child support.

Basic child support is designed to even out the standard of living for the child at each parent’s house, which is why a parent could have equal time and still have to pay child support. As of now, the custody labels do not have an impact on who receives support or how much is paid.

3 Types of Child Support

There are three kinds of child support in Minnesota:

  1. basic
  2. medical
  3. childcare

One parent may have a basic support obligation, and the other parent may have a medical support obligation and a daycare support obligation. These amounts are typically offset from one another to simplify the process.

Some people want to deviate from the child support guidelines and work out an alternative support arrangement. Sometimes this is accomplished by establishing an account for the child. Each parent puts the same amount of money into the account each month to take care of the child’s expenses. Sometimes this happens as a result of an agreement between the parties and their attorneys. This language has to be drafted in an extremely careful way, or the Court will not approve the agreement since waiving child support isn’t usually an option. If the Judge is tasked with making the decision on what child support should be, he or she will utilize the guidelines and will only deviate from the guidelines (to an amount higher or lower than the guidelines amount) if one of the parties asks for it and makes a compelling argument in favor of their request.

Any alternative child support arrangement should be drafted by an attorney to make sure it meets the legal requirements necessary for a court to sign off on it.

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 Are Child Support Payments Mandatory?
Katie is a partner at Heimerl & Lammers, and heads the family law group at the firm. She represents clients in all areas of family law, from divorce mediations, to child custody disputes. Katie received her law degree from Hamline University. Katie lives in south Minneapolis with her husband and son. In her free time, she loves to cook and travel.