How child support is calculated in Minnesota will soon be different, with new regulations coming into effect in August of 2018. Essentially, the changes involve switching over to more sophisticated mathematical formulas. The goal is to more correctly estimate the adjustments made to child support payments to take into account time spent directly caring for the child.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Minnesota?
Currently, Minnesota child support is calculated using an income sharing model, in which incomes are added together to get the total parental income which is used to determine support. This is so the child does not lose out financially after the divorce. But rather than paying strictly based on the percentage of total income earned, adjustments are needed to account for the time each parent is taking care of the child. Currently, this is determined based on a few abrupt cut-offs with the consequence that a parent who has the child 11% of the time is treated the same as if they had the child 44% of the time while having the child more than 45% of the time would change things dramatically. This provides an undesirable financial incentive to fight for extra days just to push the parent into the next category. This distortion of the child custody process is the reason there was an effort to introduce the change.
Has this Changed Recently?
The short answer is yes, this can change. After August 2018, child support has still been calculated by income sharing, but the difference came in terms of more complex formulas being used to determine the parental time expense adjustments instead of the limited categories used before. The income sharing determination stays the same, but the parenting time adjustment will be done in a more accurate fashion. A gradual adjustment was made based on the true time involved, rather than using a few limited categories.
How Will This Effect You?
Since the changes will replace the sharp cutoffs with a gradual scale, it is likely there will be changes in most cases. Though the changes mean things will be more equitable, there will in most cases be one spouse who is financially advantaged by the changes and one who is disadvantaged. If you were near one of the cutoffs, the changes could be quite large. In summary, the new rules are still based on the same basic income sharing principles but use more gradual, continuous formulas to remove the sharp cutoffs, thereby leading to a more equitable result.
You can learn more about this and other issues relating to divorce and child support in our blog. We invite you to contact the Law Offices of SchindelSegal, PLLC if you have more questions about child support in your specific circumstance.
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