On January 1, 2007 a new child support law went into effect in Minnesota. At the most basic level, the new child support law is an income-shares model, which means the court will consider the income of both parties instead of just the non-custodial parent, and will also give credit for the amount of time the non-custodial parent spends with the children. The 2007 law also changes how childcare and medical support are calculated. The family law attorneys at Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC can help you determine whether the 2007 child support law would affect your situation.
Child support now includes basic support, childcare support, and medical support, which are calculated as follows:
Basic Child Support
Basic child support is calculated by starting with the gross income of each parent, with any appropriate adjustments or deductions (such as for other children one parent has to support). The court then combines the gross incomes to find the “Parental Income for Child Support”, or PICS. Then, this PICS amount is applied to a chart to determine the total combined child support for both parents for the number of children who require support.
Next, the court determines the percentage each parent’s gross income contributes to the total PICS amount. The court then multiplies each percentage times the total combined child support obligation to determine each parent’s share of that obligation.
Finally, the court applies the Parenting Expense Adjustment. This is a credit for the amount of time the non-custodial parent (obligor) spends with the children. If the obligor spends less than 10% of the time with the child per month, then there will be no adjustment. If the obligor spends between 10% and 45% of the time with the child per month, his child support obligation will be reduced by 12%. If the obligor spends more than 45.1% of the time with the child, the court will presume the parent’s time with the child is equal, and a different formula will be applied to determine child support oblgiation, which in most cases will result in a reduced child support obligation for the obligor.
This means that the court has to determine a percentage of parenting time the obligor has with the child so this Parenting Expense Adjustment can be applied. If the court does not specify a percentage, there is a presumption of 25% parenting time. Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC can help you determine basic child support obligations in your case.
Child Care Support
The court takes the actual costs of child care, subtracts the estimated amount of federal and state child care credit payable on behalf of the children, and the resulting amount is the total child care cost that will be split between the parents. The court divides the cost according to the same percentage contribution toward the PICS amount that the court used to determine basic support. In other words, if Mother has sole physical custody, and Mother’s income contributes 40% toward the PICS, with Father’s income contributing the other 60%, Father will pay Mother for 60% of the child care costs after adjustment for the estimated child care tax credits Mother will receive.
If the child is currently covered by health insurance, the court orders that the existing coverage continue, unless the parents agree otherwise or a parent requests a change and the other coverage is more appropriate.
If the child is not covered, the court determines if either or both parents have appropriate coverage available to them. If only one parent has health insurance available to them, they are ordered to maintain coverage for the child.
If both parents have available health insurance, the custodial parent (obligee) is generally ordered to provide or continue coverage. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
The cost of coverage is split according to the percentage contribution toward the PICS amount that the court used to determine basic support. In other words, if Mother has sole physical custody, has health insurance available to her, and Mother’s income contributes 40% toward the PICS, with Father’s income contributing the other 60%, Father will pay Mother for 60% of the medical support costs.
Any unreimbursed or uninsured expenses will be split in the same manner.
If neither parent has appropriate coverage, the court must order the parents to contribute to actual medical costs based on their percentage contribution to the PICS amount, or if the child is receiving Minnesota Care or Medical Assistance, the non-custodial parent (obligor) will be ordered to contribute to the cost of the public coverage.
Modification of Child Support under the 2007 Child Support Law
The 2007 law specifically states that there can be no modification of an existing support order during the first year of enactment (2007), except in the following circumstances:
- there is at least a 20% change in the gross income of the obligor
- there is a change in the number of joint children for whom the obligor is legally responsible and actually supporting;
- the supported child becomes disabled; or
- both parents consent to modification in compliance with the new income shares guidelines.
The enactment of the 2007 law itself does not justify a modification of child support to comply with the new calculation. During that first year, there can be no modification under the new law unless one of the four factors above is true.
In addition to the old factors that state when there is a rebuttable presumption of a substantial change in circumstances that makes the original child support order unreasonable and unfair, the 2007 law adds a further factor. The original order will be presumed to be unreasonable and unfair if the gross income of the obligor or obligee has decreased by at least 20% through no fault or choice of that parent.
Six Month Review Hearing
There is a six-month review hearing, which is intended to encourage people to comply with the support order. At this hearing, the court must review whether child support is current, and whether both parties are complying with parenting time provisions.
For more information contact Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC at 651-771-0050 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.