In recent years, Minnesota’s child support statutes have shifted from a “label-based” model to a “parenting schedule” based model. It used to be that child support was calculated based upon the type of custody (whether joint physical or sole physical) arrangement the parties were awarded by the court.
New emphasis has been placed on the actual amount of parenting time that has been awarded, as opposed to mere labels. For that reason, the label, itself, has basically become meaningless. Some, including me, predict the end of the label in the next five to seven years.
The support guidelines now discount child support for an obligor (the one who pays) if they spend a certain amount of parenting time with their child, or children. Three broad categories exist: uninvolved (less than 10% of the available time with children), involved (between 10% and 45% of the available time with children), and equal (above 45% of the available time with children. The measuring tool is usually overnights.
Parents with less than 10% parenting time receive no credit against their basic child support payment. Parents who are “involved” receive a 12% credit. Parents who are “equal” receive a 50% credit.
We are frequently asked about what sort of parenting schedule might be awarded to a current, or potential, client. With that, we thought it would be helpful to outline the “typical” parenting time schedules that exist, along with the correlating discount percentage against basic child support.
Limited/High Risk Schedules: No child support credit available, as parenting time is less than 10% of available time.
- Supervised Visits: Visits limited to a supervised safety center a few hours per week. Typically reserved for cases of endangerment. No basic child support credit.
- As Agreed Upon: Visits are limited, but unsupervised. Scheduled ad hoc. No basic child support credit.
Typical Non-Custodial Schedules: A 12% child support credit is afforded, as time exceeds 10% of available time, but is less than 45% of available time.
- Every-Other Weekend (F-Su): Bare minimum schedule for involved non-custodial parents. Usually involves parents who live some distance apart, but close enough to facilitate rotating weekends. 12% basic child support credit.
- Every-Other Weekend (F-Su) & One Evening Per Week: The old “standby,” with children returning each weeknight to the primarily custodian’s residence. 12% basic child support credit.
- Every-Other Weekend (F-Su) & One Overnights Per Week: Many judges afford overnight visits during the school week. 12% basic child support credit.
- Every-Other Weekend (F-Su) & Two Evenings Per Week: Slight increase from the “old standby,” but still no overnights during the school week. 12% basic child support credit
- Every-Other Weekend (F-Su) & Two Overnights Per Week: 6 of 14 overnights. Probably lands in the “joint physical” label about 50% of the time. 12% basic child support credit, with possibility of increase by judge, but not to 50%.
- Every-Other Weekend (F-M) : Minimal involved schedule includes time until Monday morning school drop off. 12% basic child support credit.
- Every-Other Weekend (F-M) & One Evening Per Week: One additional overnight e/o Sunday, but still a 12% basic child support credit.
- Every-Other Weekend (F-M) & One Overnight Per Week: 5/14 overnights. 12% basic child support credit.
- Every-Other Weekend (F-M) & Two Evenings Per Week: Argument could be made that this borders on 45% of the time, without actual overnights. 12% basic support credit.
Typical Joint Physical Schedules (Equal Time): A 50% basic child support credit is afforded against basic support, as time exceeds 45% of available time.
- Week On/Week Off: Easiest equal access schedule to follow, but some don’t appreciate a full week without seeing children. 50% credit.
- Six & One (Overnight): Basically week on/week off, with a day in the middle to see the children. 50% credit.
- Six & One (Evening) : Same as above, except no overnight during the other parent’s week. 50% credit.
- Two-Two-Three-Three: Schedule rotates M/T then W/TH, the F, S, S, then starts over, but parent who didn’t have on weekend has M/T. 50% credit.
- Two-Two-Five-Five: Concrete every M/T with one parent, every W/TH with the other, then rotate F/S/S. Each parent has two days, followed by five days, with the children. 50% credit.