Understanding Child Support Determinations

As you move from your old life to your new one after a divorce, one of your primary concerns is the financial well-being of you and your family. In the past few years, North Dakota and Minnesota have laws to ensure equitable fiscal health for you and your family.

At Melinda Weerts Law, PLLC, located in Fargo, North Dakota, we strive to make sure each client understands the child support statutes, and the impact they will have on their family. We have over two decades of experience with child support matters, and stay up-to-date regarding changes to these laws. We can help you find answers.

The Child Support Laws In North Dakota And Minnesota

In the past, the non-custodial parent would pay a set percentage of their net income to the custodial parent. Deductions were given for things like retirement accounts, income tax withholding, and medical insurance. North Dakota's child support laws continue to be based upon such a model, which only considers the non-custodial parent's income, household composition, and a few allowable deductions into consideration.

In 2007, Minnesota substantially overhauled its child support laws to use a "combined income" model. This model takes both the gross income of the custodial parent and the gross income of the non-custodial parent into consideration in determining child support. These two figures are added together and applied to a table that outlines how much parents in various income brackets typically spend on their children. This is the "combined basic support obligation".

The non-custodial parent contributes to that combined obligation based upon his/her percentage share of the parents' combined income. For example, if the non-custodial parent has 40% of the parents' combined income, that parent would pay 40% of the combined basic support obligation. This amount may then be reduced based on the amount of parenting time you have with your children. Additional contributions may need to be paid to cover the cost of health insurance for the children or reasonable employment related childcare expenses.

The adoption of child support calculators has simplified the process for estimating and determining child support. For your convenience, we have included links to both North Dakota's and Minnesota's child support calculators. Please remember that these are not substitutes for legal advice. If the information entered is not accurate, the calculation will not be accurate either.

Here is a link to the Minnesota child support calculator:

http://childsupportcalculator.dhs.state.mn.us/

Modifications To Child Support

It is important to note that no decree is ever final, and there is a common misconception that child support can only be changed every three years. That is not true. Many circumstances can result in child support modifications. Beginning or ending a job, or specific health problems of a child are just two reasons a child support order might be adjusted. In addition, deviations can be made up or down in special instances.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

To talk to one of our lawyers about your support questions, please call our Fargo office at 701-297-2234 or send us an email. We are licensed in North Dakota and Minnesota, and represent clients throughout Fargo-Moorhead.