Child Support

Child support is the money the non-custodial parent, known as the obligor, must pay to support his or her children. This child support is paid to the obligee or custodial parent. The amount of child support an obligor must pay in Minnesota is based upon each parties’ financial situation, but the key is the net monthly income of the obligor. It may be possible to modify a prior child support order if the obligor’s financial situation has changed “substantially”, meaning his or her finances have had a chance to cause a 20% change in ongoing support.

Tied into the issue of child support is also issues of medical support for the children including health insurance coverage, if any, as well as who is responsible for any unreimbursed health and medical expenses for the children, such as braces or glasses.

Common questions about Minnesota child support

How much is child support in Minnesota?

Minnesota law defines child support as a monthly amount of money for basic needs, such as food, housing and clothing, child care support, medical insurance, and unreimbursed medical expenses.  The amount of child support a parent is legally required to pay varies in each case.  Some parents reach an agreement on their own with how much child support is going to be paid without involving a judge or filling out court paperwork.  In the other situations where parents cannot negotiate their own private agreement, the parents leave the calculation up to Minnesota child support law that takes into consideration a number of factors such as the parent’s gross monthly incomes, the cost of daycare, and medical insurance for the children as well as how many court-ordered overnights each parent has with their children.  The income of another spouse or significant other is irrelevant.  The parent’s monthly expenses are usually irrelevant, too.  

Parents can use the child support calculator at this link to calculate child support and to learn more on how it is actually calculated.  The link is  

How is child support calculated?

The Minnesota Department of Health created an online calculator for the sole purpose of calculating child support.  It can be accessed at  Child support is calculated once specific financial information is put in it specifically both parent’s gross monthly income, the cost of daycare, and medical and dental insurance as well as the number of court-ordered overnights each parent has with their children.

One challenge using the calculator is that you may not know the other parent’s gross monthly income or if they receive any bonuses or commissions.  You may not have any idea of what that other parent pays for the children’s daycare or medical and dental insurance.  Even if you do not have all of this information, a parent can still input information to get a sense of what child support could look like if it is court ordered.

How to file for child support?

Applying for child support is done in several different ways.  The easiest and quickest way to file for child support is online by completing an online application at  If applying online is not an option, a parent can print off the child support application at and mail it to the local child support office.  A hard copy of the child support application can be obtained by mail by calling the local child support office as well keeping in mind this takes more time than applying online.

If there is already a child support Order but the other parent is not paying it for whatever reason, a parent can apply for income withholding services through the child support office to collect the money through a garnishment type process.  The application for withholding services is here –  

Is child support taxable?

No, it is not.  The person receiving child support does not pay taxes on the child support received, and the person paying child support does not get a tax break on the child support paid.  Child support is a non-taxable event.

Is child support guaranteed to the parent that has custody of the child(ren) and makes more money than the other parent?

The custody label does not influence child support.  But, the number of court-ordered overnights that parents each have with their children does have a direct influence here.  If the parents share an equal parenting time schedule and their incomes are equal, a judge can order child support set at $0 unless the judge finds the children’s expenses are not shared equally.  In all other situations, the online child support calculator needs to be used to run a child support calculation to see what the law says needs to be paid for the children’s financial needs.  The online calculator is found at         

If you need to talk to a child support attorney, please schedule an initial consultation appointment online and fill out the Consultation Intake Form. She can help you navigate child support in Minnesota.