Child Support Basics Everyone Should Know

“Support” spelled out with Scrabble letters.
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Caring for children with a partner you’re separated from can be difficult. It is a good idea to consider looking into child support to be put into place to ensure the children receive the care they need. Understanding child support basics is hard.

That’s why we’ve created a few pointers below for you to review. Also be sure to get in touch with a family law attorney who can help guide you through your specific situation.

Child Support Basics

1. Definitions

There are three different types of child support and some other terms you’ll need to be familiar with as you move through this process.

Basic Support

Basic Support is any money used to provide the necessities in your child’s life:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Some Other Categories

Medical Support

Medical Support indicates how health insurance premiums, dental insurance premiums and payments or reimbursements for those expenses should be allocated for your child.

Child Care Support

Child Care Support covers what parents should pay towards child care costs based upon parent’s income and what parent actually incurs the child care expenses.

Parenting Time

New Minnesota Child Support laws went into effect on August 1, 2018.

Child support calculation take every single court order parenting time overnight into consideration, including holidays and vacations over a two year period of time. It also considers different parenting time schedules for different children.

It is intended to create a more gradual change in child support and credit each parent for every single overnight the children are in a parent’s care. Contact us to discuss if the change in law would affect your child support amount.

2. Modification

Child support orders can be changed in two ways – via Stipulation or a Motion to Modify Support.

Stipulation

If you and your child’s other parent are both in agreement on the changes which need to be made to a child support order, you can file a Stipulation together in court. The Stipulation must be in the best interest of the child.

You may need to attend a hearing to discuss the Stipulation with a judge, or the judge may sign or reject it without further discussion.

Motion to Modify Support

A Motion to Modify Support is filed by a single parent, not together. There must have been a substantial change in circumstances that makes the current child support order unreasonable and unfair.

If your child support obligation has changed up or down by more than 20%, or by more than $75.00 a month, you can request a change in your child support obligation. The other parent will need to be “served” the motion, and it will need to be discussed with a judge.

3. Expedited Process

A child support order can be expedited in very specific cases, such as:

  • when child support is the only legal issue in question; or,
  • if the county child support office is involved due to a party receiving public assistance.

The expedited child support process can be heard by a child support magistrate rather than a judge, and there are different forms and rules to follow that your lawyer can help you understand.