In Minnesota, child support is calculated through the application of a statutory formula – unless the litigants or judge opt to deviate upward or downward. Better than 95% of the time, a strict application of the Minnesota child support guidelines will occur.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has published an online child support calculator to help parents, lawyers and judges determine the appropriate level of support. Absent the online calculator, the application of the statutory support guidelines can be overwhelming.

The opening page of the online child support calculator provides an overview of the information necessary to calculate child support in Minnesota, including:

  • The gross monthly income (earnings prior to any payroll deductions) of each parent;
  • The number of children residing with each parent;
  • The amount of any child support or spousal maintenance paid by either parent;
  • The amount of any social security or government benefits paid to each parent;
  • The monthly cost to insure the children (medical, dental or vision coverage);
  • The monthly daycare costs for the children; and
  • The number of overnights the children will spend in the care of each parent on an annual basis.

Once you have the foregoing information in place, the second page of the calculator requires you to include the relevant data. Bear in mind, you don’t necessarily have to enter all of the data sought by the calculator in order to calculate child support. You may not have, for example, a court file number or IV-D case number.

As you enter information, be sure to isolate information for parent “A” and parent “B.” It doesn’t matter which parent serves as “A” or “B,” so long as information is consistently included throughout the support guideline calculator.

One nice feature of the online calculator involves the fact that you can experiment with data.

Suppose you don’t know what the other parent’s income is. You can make assumptions and run scenarios to come up with a range of possible outcomes.

The same is true with the parenting time schedule. Parents often don’t know what the overnight breakdown will be on a permanent basis. The formula allows you to experiment with different schedules to see what the child support amount will be.

Once you enter the relevant information, Minnesota’s online child support calculator will tell you if information is missing or is inconsistent. If all is well, a separate page will appear with the level of basic child support, medical support and daycare support to be paid. You can then print out the relevant calculations and return to the calculator to run another scenario.

The Minnesota child support calculator is rather intuitive and user-friendly. Take advantage of the tool that judicial officers, child support magistrates, lawyers and mediators use in figuring out the appropriate level of child support.