Determining support for children is a part of every divorce or custody matter that involves children. While there are guidelines for how to calculate support many of the terms used in these guidelines are not clear and can make figuring out support more complicated for a non-lawyer than it needs to be. The Department of Human Services has provided a child support calculator for the public to use that can be found here: Minnesota Child Support Guidelines Calculator. Clicking on many of the terms on that site will provide you with a definition and guidance. Here is a summary of a few of the terms used in child support matters.
Child support terminology
- Parental Income for Child Support (PICS): A parent’s PICS is a percentage based on their share of income compared to both parents’ total income.
- Basic Child Support: Basic child support is support for a child’s housing, food, clothing, transportation, education costs, and other expenses related to the child.
- Parenting Time Expense Adjustment: An adjustment to child support obligations is made based on the amount of annual overnight parenting time each parent will spend with the child.
- Medical/Dental Support: The parent who provides health and dental insurance for the parents’ child may receive medical support from the other party. The support amount is based on the cost the parent pays for medical/dental support for the child alone and the non-providing parent’s PICS. Likewise, medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance are often allocated using each parent’s PICS.
- Child Care Support: A parent’s obligation to contribute to work and education related child care costs for the joint children.
- Net Child Support: Net child support is calculated using each parent’s basic child support, medical support, and child care support obligations to result in just one net support payment to be paid from one parent to the other.
- Imputation of income: If a parent is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed, the court can consider the parent’s potential income and impute that for use in child support calculations. There is a rebuttable presumption that all parents can be employed full time working 40 hours per week.
- Obligee: A person to whom payments for maintenance or support are owed.
- Obligor: A person obligated to pay maintenance or support.