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Understanding Why Child Support Is Important And How It Works

“Because it’s your duty to support your kids.”

Learn how attorney Dave Meier helps his clients understand child support, and why child support is important.

Because it’s your duty to support your kids. This is the answer I give to nearly every parent who asks me to explain the reason we need to deal with the issue of child support. Minnesota has a long standing public policy that parents have the primary responsibility to raise and financially support the children they bring into this world. Duh. Isn’t this self-evident? Why should grandparents, the state or the other parent alone provide for our kids? I’m pleased to tell you most parents understand this and desire to financially support their own kids. The real issue is not the duty to pay support, but instead how the support is being spent. Once their real concern is identified, we can move on to what child support is and what it isn’t.

Child support is an order from the court for one parent to pay money to the other parent to help financially support the children. The amount is based on a formula which considers the number of children to be supported, each parent’s gross monthly income, the cost of medical, dental insurance, the cost of childcare, the percentage of parenting time, overnights, between the parents as well as non-joined kids and the support of those kids.

In addition, the parents are going to share the cost of uncovered medical expenses and in some cases the cost of extracurricular expenses. Child support continues until the child is 18 and out of high school and longer in special cases. We do not count the income of a parent’s new spouse and in most cases we only include regular full time wages or earnings. Child support is not punishment for being a poor parent. It is not a reward for being a good parent. The court actually considers child support paid by one parent to the other to be the child’s benefit and not the parent’s benefit. Child support is not a golden ticket to secure parenting time and it is not a benefit to withhold when parenting time is denied. It is not a get rich quick scheme for the other parent.

Having raised three kids to maturity and in so doing fulfilled my duty to financially support them. I can attest it is far cheaper to pay support as determined by our guideline formula than to pay for those many, many expenses directly. It is cheaper to pay child support than to pay those day to day expenses as they come up. So do not run from or complain about an obligation to pay child support. The court will consider a motion to change parenting time should you actually believe the support you pay is being wasted on the custodial parents, entertainment and vacations.