Minnesota Child Support Calculator
Court may increase support if combined income is more than $20,000.
Not in Minnesota? Use your location's child support calculator.
Courts often use wrong parenting time estimates when calculating child support, which could make your child support either too high or too low.
Custody X Change calculates parenting time accurately, so your child support will have the fairest outcome for your kids.Start Tracking My Parenting Time
Minnesota Child Support & Parenting Time Calculations
Child support payments are made by one divorced or separated parent to the other, ensuring that you can meet your child's needs and that both of you contribute fairly.
In Minnesota, your child support is based mostly on how much you and the other parent earn, how many children you have and how many overnights they spend with you. The Custody X Change calculator above gives you a sense of what you may pay or receive.
However, a judge can order a parent to pay more or less than the calculated amount, and parents can request such a diversion.
The final decision will be made by a district court judge and spelled out in a court order. The judge may consider any factor they believe to be relevant.
Note that, while a legal guardian or third-party custodian may seek and receive child support, this article focuses on parents.
Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.
A parent's responsibility and a child's right
If you're a legal parent, you have an obligation to support your child financially, and your child has a legal right to your financial support.
There are a few instances where neither parent pays support. When parents have equal incomes and equal parenting time, their financial burdens are already balanced. A parent who can't work may not have to pay, either. (A parent who is temporarily not working, or whose income is below poverty level, may owe a minimum monthly support amount of $50 to $100.)
Sometimes, a parent does not want to receive support. You can specify when you file your custody case that you are not requesting child support. However, if you have a significant difference in income or parenting responsibility, the judge will make one of you send payments.
The court handles parental agreement on a child support amount similarly. If the judge considers a child support agreement unfair to the child, they can ignore your joint proposal and make their own decision.
You cannot terminate your parental rights just because you do not want to pay for your child's care. Nor do choices like remarrying or rarely seeing your child allow you to avoid payments.
Parents in Minnesota pay child support until their child turns 18 (or 20, if the child continues to attend high school). If your child is disabled, you may pay indefinitely.
The basics of calculating child support
First, Minnesota law considers how much parents earn and spend and how many children they have together.
For combined incomes up to $20,000 per month and up to six children, the law suggests how much parents should spend on their children. For parents with higher combined incomes or more children, the judge comes up with a number by examining the family's situation.
Next, the judge looks at parenting time to determine how much of the total spending each parent should be responsible for.
The judge plugs your number of overnights with your children in a year (based on your parenting time schedule) into a formula. The formula assumes that a parent who spends more time with the children spends more money on them, and it tries to even out the financial responsibility.
Some parents spend significant daytime hours with their children but few overnights (for example, when the parent works overnight). The judge may recognize those parenting days as overnight equivalents.
Finally, the judge may increase or decrease the calculated payment based on the children's medical or child care costs.
The court tries to ensure that paying child support does not put a parent into poverty. Over a thousand dollars of a parent's monthly income (depending on current federal poverty guidelines) is excluded from the child support calculation so that the parent has enough to support themself.
How to estimate the payment
To roughly estimate the child support you will pay or receive, use the Custody X Change calculator at the top of this page.
For a more precise estimation, use the Minnesota Department of Human Services child support calculator. You may be asked to bring your results to a negotiation or a court hearing.
For the government calculator, you'll need a little more information.
About each parent:
- Monthly income, including unemployment and retirement income
- Potential income (if underemployed)
- Court-ordered spousal maintenance payments for this relationship or another
About the children you have together:
- Cost of medical and dental coverage (or government assistance you receive)
- Cost of child care (or government assistance you receive)
- Amount of Social Security or VA benefits received by each child
- Number of overnights per year you have with each child, which you can determine with the Custody X Change parenting time calculator
About other children either of you have, if any:
- Court-ordered child support that you or the other parent pays
How to request child support
A judge will always consider child support during a child custody case and during a divorce case that includes children under 18. When you file your case, the forms will ask for the necessary information.
You can also request child support without having a divorce or custody case. Fill out the Application for Child Support Services online or on paper. The application goes through the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
If you have a divorce or custody case and you commit to the alternative dispute resolution process called an early neutral evaluation (ENE) without yet having a child support order, the court will probably wait for the results of the ENE before ordering child support. That's because the ENE addresses parenting time and other issues that affect support.
How child support is paid
Child support payments go through the Minnesota Child Support Payment Center. This helps the state track the money, proving that it was paid and received.
Child support is most commonly deducted from a paycheck. Alternatively, the payment center automatically pulls the money from the parent's bank account. A third arrangement is for the parent to mail a check to the payment center.
How child support is received
When the other parent pays through the state payment center, the system will disburse the funds to you. However, if you receive assistance like TANF, be prepared that the government may keep part of the support payment.
If you agree to receive money directly from the other parent and the court approves the arrangement, you must notify your child support worker every time you receive a payment. You can message them online through the payment center. The worker may ask you to send it to the payment center so they can disburse it to you properly.
How child support is spent
The parent who receives child support doesn't need to track or prove how they spend it. They don't need to keep it in a separate bank account, nor are they expected to save receipts.
Since many household expenses benefit both parent and child, it is assumed and intended that the parent will the put child support toward their own expenses, like rent, groceries and car maintenance.
How child support is enforced
It's important to know that parents can't deny each other court-ordered parenting time just because support payments are overdue.
If you are the parent who is owed money, speak to your county child support office. Once they are aware of your situation, they can notify the other parent and give them a chance to cooperate. Also, within the first six months of your child support order, you can request a review hearing to discuss the missing payments.
If you cannot afford your child support payments, always try to pay as much as you can. This shows the state authorities that you are making an effort.
You should also discuss it with your child support worker. You can message them online through the payment center. Let them know you are trying. They'll offer a payment plan.
Minnesota no longer charges interest on past-due amounts. However, if you continue to miss payments, you may be reported to credit bureaus. Paying overdue child support is sometimes called settlement of arrears.
In Minnesota, not paying child support (knowingly and without an excuse) is a misdemeanor after 90 days and a felony after 180 days.
If you do not cooperate with the child support office, they may enforce the court order by taking these actions against you:
- Civil or criminal court proceedings
- Asset seizure
- Passport holds
- Driver's license suspension
- Tax refund interception
- Publication of your name (if you owe over $10,000 and can't be found)
How to change child support
You may request to change your court-ordered payment if you have a valid reason, like an income decrease of at least 20 percent. The court will also consider requests that would increase or decrease the child support payment by at least 20 percent. Minnesota publishes a form for each type of change request.
Calculating your parenting time
Parenting time is an important factor in Minnesota child support calculations.
Lawyers (and even the court) usually estimate a parent's number of overnights because manually calculating is tedious.
Don't merely guess at your parenting time. Calculate it exactly to get a fair child support payment.
Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.