As you and your spouse work out your parenting agreement, you may have concerns about paying child support. You may be an involved and devoted parent but fear that monthly support payments could hurt you financially. Here are some things to know about how child support is determined.

The relationship between parenting time and child support

Up until 2018, Minnesota determined child support obligations based on parenting-time percentages. Under this system, if your children spent less than 10% of their time with you, you would pay your standard support obligation. Yet, if they spent between 10% and 45% of their time with you, your obligation would decrease by 12%. And if your children spent over 45% of their time with you, both parents would owe support to the other, with the higher owing parent paying the difference.

In contrast, Minnesota’s new system considers the number of overnights your children will spend with you over a two-year period. There is still a correlation between a greater share of parenting time and a lower child support obligation, but your support obligation will decrease with each additional overnight. While this system still gives you incentive to pursue greater parenting time, it is less restrictive than the former model. The same rules apply to cases where each parent has 45% of the overnights.

Determining parenting time and child support

Your share of parenting time and your child support obligation will depend on the terms of your parenting agreement. If you and your spouse can create one together, it will stand so long as a judge approves it. If your split is contentious, your parenting time may have to be determined by the court. In such cases, a judge will consider a variety of factors when creating an order that reflects their conclusions about your children’s best interests. They may consider:

  • How parenting time will affect your children’s relationship with their home, school or community
  • Whether you or your spouse have physical, mental or chemical issues that will affect your children’s safety
  • You and your spouse’s ability and willingness to meet your children’s needs
  • You and your spouse’s role in your children’s upbringing
  • Your children’s preferences, provided they are of appropriate age or maturity

Rather than leave these decisions up to the judge, most people prefer to maintain a hand in crafting their parenting time schedule. An attorney can help you reach a parenting agreement that protects both your family and your finances. Call attorney David Meier at 651-738-3433.