People who are getting divorced in Minnesota often ask me about daycare expenses. Usually, they want to know if their ex-spouse will have to contribute to their daycare or child care costs. The answer to the question is “Yes,” provided that the child care expenses are work-related or education-related.
The Minnesota child support statute requires that an award of child support contain three components. The first component is a dollar amount for what is traditionally called “child support.” That means a cash payment from one spouse to the other that is intended to help pay for the child’s food, clothing, shelter, and other expenses.
The second component of a child support award is medical support. This requires the person paying child support to also contribute towards the child’s medical insurance costs, and also the child’s medical insurance co-payments, uninsured expenses, dental expenses, occular expenses, etc.
The third component of a child support award is child care support, or daycare support. This requires that a person paying child support and medical insurance support also pays child care or daycare support.
These calculations to determine these obligation are somewhat complex. I use a computer program to do it. You can use the same computer program that I use if you go here: http://childsupportcalculator.dhs.state.mn.us/Calculator.aspx.
Minnesota child support is determined by an analysis of the incomes of both parents. A ratio of each parent’s income is established. That ratio is called a “Percentage Income Calculation for Support.” This is called “PICS” for short.
If the ratio of the parent’s income is, for example 55% to 45%, then one parent pays 55% of the child care costs and the other parent pays 45%. However, there is a bit more to it than this, because of the child care tax credit that one parent will receive. This is why the computer program I mentioned above is helpful. The computer program calculates the tax consequences of the child care tax credit so you don’t have to do it.
The law says that a child support award, in order to be valid, must have the three components outlined above, and it must state a specific dollar amount for each of the components individually. This is because one expense might change (and need to be modified) while the other expenses remain the same.
Obviously, child care support ends at some point. Usually children who are twelve years old or older do not require child care. As the need for child care decreases, the child care support obligation may reduce, and ultimately it will phase out. However, the other two components of child support (basic child care and medical support) will remain in place until the child has attained the age of 18 and has been graduated from high school, or married, joined the armed services of the United States, or otherwise emancipated.
Feel free to call me with questions or concerns about Minnesota child support and Minnesota daycare support. My cell phone number is (952) 270-7700.