Minnesota Divorce FAQ’s – Child Support

This is about child support in Minnesota after divorce, including how child support gets figured, how parents can change child support, when the court orders for child support to be withheld from paychecks, and when the court will deviate from child support guidelines in Minnesota.

This information is from Maury D. Beaulier, the DivorceInfo Network Lawyer for Minnesota. Click here to visit his web site.

How does child support get figured?

The amount of child support paid by a non-custodial parent is dictated by Minnesota Statutes (M.S.A.§ 518.551). It states that the court cannot use vague percentages in determining child support and must derive“a specific dollar amount” which is calculated by multiplying the obligor’s net income by the percentage indicated by the following guidelines:

Net Income PerMonth of Obligor Child













7 or more

$550 and Below Order based on the ability of the obligor to provide support at these income levels, or at higher levels, if the obligor has the earning ability
$551 – 600 16% 19% 22% 25% 28% 30% 32%
$601 – 650 17% 21% 24% 27% 29% 32% 34%
$651 – 700 18% 22% 25% 28% 31% 34% 36%
$601 – 750 19% 23% 27% 30% 33% 36% 38%
$751 – 800 20% 24% 28% 31% 35% 38% 40%
$801 – 850 21% 25% 29% 33% 36% 40% 42%
$851 – 900 22% 27% 31% 34% 38% 41% 44%
$901 – 950 23% 28% 32% 36% 40% 43% 46%
$951-1000 24% 29% 34% 38% 41% 45% 48%
$1001 – 5000 25% 30% 35% 39% 43% 47% 50%

Net Income is defined as Total monthly income less:

*(i) Federal Income Tax

*(ii) State Income Tax

(iii) Social Security Deductions

(iv) Reasonable Pension Deductions (usually up to 10%)

(v) Union Dues

(vi) Cost of Dependent Health and/or Dental Insurance Coverage

(vii) Cost of Individual or Group Health – Hospitalization Coverage or an Amount for Actual Medical Expenses

(viii) A Child Support or Maintenance Order that is currently Being Paid.

“Net income” specifically excludes:

INCOME OF OBLIGOR’S SPOUSE (but does consider spouse’s contribution to monthly household); or

OVERTIME INCOME, provided that:

support is nonetheless ordered in an amount at least equal to the guidelines for a 40 hour work week; and

the party demonstrates, and the court finds, that:

  • the excess employment began after the filing of the petition for divorce;
  • 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;
  • the excess employment is voluntary and not a condition of employment;
  • the excess employment is in the nature of additional, part-time or overtime employment compensable by the hour or fraction of an hour; and
  • the party’s compensation structure has not been changed for the purpose of affecting a support or maintenance obligation.

How do you change child support?

In order to change child support, the person bringing  the motion must demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstance making the current obligation unreasonable or unfair.  It is presumed that a substantial change has occurred if the change in the obligor’s income would result in a change of $50 or 20% in the obligor’s child support, whichever is less.

Does child support get deducted from the payor’s paycheck? How?

Yes.  Child support is automatically deducted by the County Child Support Enforcement Agency unless both parties agree to waive automatic income withholding.

When will the court allow a deviation from the guidelines?

The child support guidelines create a “rebuttable presumption” regarding the amount of support paid. That means that they are used to determine child support unless sufficient factual information exists to rebut the fairness of the amount. Under current Minnesota law, it is very difficult to convince a court or a magistrate to deviate from these guidelines.

Minnesota Statutes § 518.551, Subd 5(c) specifically allows the Court to consider the following factors when considering a deviation from guidelines:

  • all earnings, income, and resources of the parents, including real and personal property, but excluding income from excess employment of the obligor or obligee;
  • the financial needs and resources, physical and emotional condition, and educational needs of the child or children to be supported;
  • the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved, but recognizing that the parents now have separate households;
  • which parent receives the income taxation dependency exemption and what financial benefit the parent receives from it;
  • the obligor’s receipt of public assistance under the AFDC program.

Other issues in Minnesota: