Divorce changes families, no doubt. One of the most significant changes to expect is the change in time each parent spends with a child. This is called “parenting time.” Decisions regarding parenting time can influence many other areas of a divorce.
For instance, parenting time has a direct impact on child support orders in Minnesota. We explain why below.
Using parenting time to calculate child support
Minnesota courts order child support to ensure a child has the financial support of both parents. However, the amount of that support varies widely and is based on a number of factors, including parenting time.
Courts will calculate basic support amounts based on the income of both parents. Then they will look at how much time the child will be with the paying parent. The more time the paying parent spends with a child, the lower his or her support obligations will be.
More specifically, if you have your child between 10 and 45 percent of the time, your support order will decrease by about 12 percent. If you have your child for less than 10 percent of the time, no adjustments will be made. (Note that changes to Minnesota’s child support laws are anticipated for July 1, 2018.)
With this in mind, parents may find that the paying parent has incentive to seek more parenting time, while the recipient parent may be motivated to deny those requests.
Other ways parenting time influences families post-divorce
In addition to the calculation of child support, parenting time can affect:
- Where each parent lives
- Where a child goes to school
- Custody exchange procedures and ground rules
- Household routines
- Types and frequency of parental interaction and communication
- Which parent might receive custody of a pet
Legal guidance crucial when establishing parenting time
Considering how much can be affected by parenting time, you would be wise to work with an attorney to help you pursue the custody plan you want and deserve. The relationship with your child and the foreseeable future could depend on the solutions you secure today.