In January of 2007 the Minnesota child support guidelines underwent significant changes. Prior to the enactment of the present legislation found in Minnesota Statutes Section 518A, child support was based soley on the income of the obligor (the paying parent). Today, child support is based upon the relative income of both the obligor and obligee (the receiving parent), taking into account the nature of the physical custody of the minor children of the parties. The intent of the legislature was to enact guidelines that strike a balance in the income of each parent, the time each parent spends with the children and expenses non-custodial parents incur during their parenting time.
Child support involves three types of financial contribution: (1) basic support; (2) medical expenses; and (3) child care costs. Basic support is a monthly cash payment made from one parent to another for the support of the children. Medical support involves the payment of insurance premiums and uninsured expenses. Child care costs involve all work or education-related child care expenses incurred by the parents of a child.
The PICS (percentage of income for child support) of each parent is critical to determining how much support will change hands. The guidelines call for the Court to combine the gross (pre-tax) income of each parent and assign a relative percentage of the combined income to each. Once determined, this percentage (or PICS) is multiplied against the total support figure listed in the guidelines to determine how much basic support must change hands. A non-custodial parent receives a credit against the amount of support to be paid based upon the amount of parenting time they exercise. That same PICS is applied to the actual cost of health premiums, uninsured expenses and daycare to appropriately allocate the obligations of each parent.