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Minnesota Child Support Definitions

In addition to the child support guidelines, the court shall take into consideration the following factors in setting or modifying child support or in determining whether to deviate from the guidelines:

(1) all earnings, income, and resources of the parents, including real and personal property, but excluding income from excess employment.

(2) the financial needs and resources, physical and emotional condition, and educational needs of the child or children to be supported;

(3) the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved, but recognizing that the parents now have separate households;

(4) which parent receives the income taxation dependency exemption and what financial benefit the parent receives from it;

(5) the parents’ debts as provided in paragraph (d); and

(6) the obligor’s receipt of public assistance.

Child Care Costs:

The court shall review the work-related and education-related child care costs paid and shall allocate the costs to each parent in proportion to each parent’s net income, as determined under this subdivision, after the transfer of child support and spousal maintenance, unless the allocation would be substantially unfair to either parent. The court may allow the noncustodial parent to care for the child while the custodial parent is working.

"Net Income" Does Not Include:

(1) the income of the obligor’s spouse, but does include in-kind payments received by the obligor in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business if the payments reduce the obligor’s living expenses; or

(2) compensation received by a party for employment in excess of a 40-hour work week, provided that:

(i) support is nonetheless ordered in an amount at least equal to the guidelines amount based on income not excluded under this clause; and

(ii) the party demonstrates, and the court finds, that:

(A) the excess employment began after the filing of the
petition for dissolution;

(B) the excess employment reflects an increase in the work schedule or hours worked over that of the two years immediately preceding the filing of the petition;

(C) the excess employment is voluntary and not a condition of employment;

(D) the excess employment is in the nature of additional,
part-time or overtime employment compensable by the hour or fraction of an hour; and

(E) the party’s compensation structure has not been changed for the purpose of affecting a support or maintenance obligation.

Determination of income.

(a) The parties shall timely serve and file documentation of earnings and income.

When there is a prehearing conference, the court must receive the documentation of income at least ten days prior to the prehearing conference. Documentation of earnings and income also includes, but is not limited to, pay stubs for the most recent three months, employer statements, or statement of receipts and expenses if self-employed. Documentation of earnings and income also includes copies of each parent’s most recent federal tax returns, including W-2 forms, 1099 forms,
reemployment insurance statements, workers’ compensation statements, and all other documents evidencing income as received that provide verification of income over a longer period.

(b) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (a), at any time after an action seeking child support has been commenced or when a child support order is in effect, a party or the public authority may require the other party to give them a copy of the party’s most recent federal tax returns that were filed with the Internal Revenue Service. The party shall provide a copy of the tax returns within 30 days of receipt of the request unless the request is not made in good faith. A request under this paragraph may not be made more than once every two years, in the absence of good cause.

(c) If a parent under the jurisdiction of the court does not appear at a court hearing after proper notice of the time and place of the hearing, the court shall set income for that parent based on credible evidence before the court or in accordance with paragraph (d). Credible evidence may include documentation of current or recent income, testimony of the other parent concerning recent earnings and income levels, and the parent’s wage reports filed with the Minnesota department of economic security.

(d) If the court finds that a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed or was voluntarily unemployed or underemployed during the period for which past support is being sought, support shall be calculated based on a determination of imputed income. A parent is not considered voluntarily unemployed or underemployed upon a showing by the parent that the unemployment or underemployment: (1) is temporary and will ultimately lead to an increase in income; or (2) represents a bona fide career change that outweighs the adverse effect of that parent’sdiminished income on the child. Imputed income means the estimated earning ability of a parent based on the parent’s prior earningshistory, education, and job skills, and on availability of jobs within the community for an individual with the parent’s qualifications.

(e) If there is insufficient information to determine actual income or to impute income pursuant to paragraph (d), the court may calculate support based on full-time employment of 40 hours per week at 150 percent of the federal minimum wage or the Minnesota minimum wage, whichever is higher. If a parent is a recipient of public assistance, or is physically or mentally incapacitated, it shall be presumed that the parent is not voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

(f) Income from self employment is equal to gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses. Ordinary and necessary expenses do not include amounts allowed by the Internal Revenue Service for accelerated depreciation expenses or investment tax credits or any other business expenses determined by the court to be inappropriate for determining income for purposes of child support. The person seeking to deduct an expense, including depreciation, has the burden of proving, if challenged, that the expense is ordinary and necessary. Net income under this section may be different from taxable income.

Subsequent children.

The fact that an obligor had additional children after the entry of a child support order is not grounds for a modification to decrease the amount of support owed. However, the fact that an obligor has subsequent children shall be considered in response to a request by an obligee for a modification to increase child support. In order consider the needs of subsequent children, the trial court must:

(1) find the obligor’s total ability to contribute to dependent children, taking into account the obligor’s income and reasonable expenses exclusive of child care. The obligor’s expenses must be:

(i) reduced as appropriate to take into account
contributions to those costs by other adults who share the
obligor’s current household; and
(ii) apportioned between the parent and any subsequent
child with regard to shared benefits, including but not limited
to, housing and transportation;

(2) find the total needs of all the obligor’s children, and if these needs are less than the obligor’s ability to pay, the needs may become the obligor’s child support obligation. When considering the needs of subsequent children, the trial court must reduce those amounts as appropriate to take into account the ability to contribute to those needs by another parent of the children;

(3) make specific findings on the needs of the child or children who are the subject of the support order under consideration; and

(4) exercise discretion to fairly determine the current support obligation and the contribution left available for other children, considering that the support obligation being determined should be in an amount at least equal to the contribution for a subsequent child.