New child-support law reflects parenting expenses more accurately


A new law taking effect this week could help thousands of families who have a child-support order that includes parenting time. The law aims to reduce conflicts between parents over parenting time, acknowledge the higher expenses for parents who spend more time with their children, and recognize that children need the “basics” in both of their homes.

Starting on August 1, the law will use a new formula to change how courts adjust the basic child-support amount for parenting-time expenses based on the number of court-ordered overnights parents spend with their children. Child-support orders will not change automatically because of this new law, so parents must take action if they want to pursue an adjustment.

Depending on how their existing court order determines parenting time, parents interested in pursuing a change must file a motion or petition with the court or call their county child-support office for more information about how the new adjustment could affect their child support. The court may modify the child support if the new amount is at least $75 and 20-percent higher or lower than the existing order.

Because Minnesota courts use multiple factors when setting child support, including the income of both parents and the number of their joint children, child support could go up, go down or stay the same after applying the new parenting expense adjustment.

“All children need financial support from both parents,” said Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. “Child support promotes children’s well-being and helps families become self-sufficient. This law will give parents the potential to better care for their children and ultimately strengthen family relationships in our communities.”

County and state child-support offices provided services to almost 346,000 parents and their 240,000 children in 217,000 cases in federal fiscal year 2017. This new law is likely to affect at least 38,000 of these cases and possibly more depending on the details of the additional cases.

For more information, contact your county child-support office, or the Minnesota Department of Human Services Child Support Division at 651-431-4400 or on the child support website at


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