Minnesota Child Support Guidelines


In Minnesota, the child support guidelines are based on income shares (gross income of both parties). The current child support guidelines were effective January 1, 2007.  In prior years, the guidelines were based on net income of the payor.


Pre-existing orders will remain intact regardless of the effective date of the new guideline rules. Changes to the child support order after the effective date of the new rules will be allowed only for the following reasons:

Gross Income

Combine all income as defined by Minn.St. § 518A.29 (Westlaw / WestlawNext). This includes Self-Employment income as defined in Minn.St. § 518A.30 (Westlaw / WestlawNext). There is a cap of $15,000 on gross income for determining the PICS percentage (described below). Enter the total salary/wages and self-employment on the fields provided in Basic Facts and other kinds of income in Other Income.

Social Security Benefits

All Social Security benefits received on behalf of the child(ren) and self should be reported as income.  The benefit on behalf of the child(ren) will be properly deducted in another step. See Minn.St. § 518A.31 (Westlaw / WestlawNext).


Modified Gross Income

Once the personal gross income has been determined, that income may be modified to include the following adjustments:

Nonjoint Child Deduction

Sometimes families have other children they are legally responsible for and for which there is no current support order.  These children are also not a party to this case.  Under the current rules, the parent with a nonjoint child is allowed a deduction for up to two children in calculating Parental Income for Determining Child Support (PICS).  Enter the number of qualified children on line 7, Support Related Facts and the software will automatically calculate the appropriate deduction. See Minn.St. § 518A.33 (Westlaw / WestlawNext).


Parental Income for Determining Child Support (PICS)

The proportionate share of modified gross income of both parents based on Parental Income for Determining Child Support (PICS) is used to determine the PICS percentage.  This percentage is then used throughout to determine the proportionate share of child care and medical expense obligations. The software will automatically calculate the PICS percentage share. See Minn.St. § 518A.34 (Westlaw / WestlawNext).


Parenting Expense Adjustment

The obligor with an appropriate percent of overnights will be allowed an adjustment for the expenses incurred while the child is in his or her care. It is presumed that the obligor has 25% time with his or her children.  The obligor may need to have a parenting time order prior to receiving the credit.  See Minn.St. § 518A.36 (Westlaw / WestlawNext).


Percentage Range of Parenting Time

Adjustment Percentage  (applied to obligor’s basic child support obligation)

Less than 10 percent

no adjustment

10 percent to 45 percent

12 percent

45.1 percent to 50 percent

presume parenting time is equal


Child Care Costs

The calculation for determining child care obligations between the parents have remained proportionately similar to previous MN guidelines with one exception.  The Federal Child Care Credit and MN Child Care Credits are deducted from the total child care expenses for determining the proportionate share of child care for each parent.  See Minn.St. § 518A.40 (Westlaw / WestlawNext).

Enter the total child care costs on line 10, Essential Facts.  The software will automatically calculate the Federal child care credit and the State child care credit.  The software will additionally calculate these credits based on the rules contained in the Minnesota child support guidelines. The child care tax credits can be different due to a limited definition of income under the Minnesota child support rules and due to the fact that the Minnesota child support rules do not reflect the situation where a low income person may not be able use the child care tax credits due to an insufficient tax liability.  Support Related Facts compares the more accurate tax credit calculations to the credits following the MN child support rules. The Minnesota worksheets provide lines for deviation if the user desires to utilize the more accurate projections from the tax part of the software.

Low Income

In low income cases, enter the appropriate co-pay amount for the non-custodial parent directly on the Child Care Credit Computation Worksheet (line 9c, Form M-3).   See Minn.St. §§ 518A.40 (Westlaw / WestlawNext) and 119B.03 (Westlaw / WestlawNext).  Child care payments for the custodial parent are entered through line 10, Essential Facts and should reflect the amount actually paid by the custodial parent for child care (excludes any payments by the State through the Chapter 119B (Westlaw / WestlawNext) program of assistance for lower income individuals).

Co-Pay Tables can be found at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The state median income (SMI) guidelines for federal fiscal year 2012, as published in the Federal Register on April 18, 2011, were used to develop the schedule. Copayment schedules remain in effect until a new copayment schedule is published.

Under the SMI guideline schedule, family income must be at or below 47 percent SMI to enter the CCAP. Families remain eligible for the CCAP if their income is at or below 67 percent SMI.


Health Care Coverage

Enter the Health Care premiums on line 10, Support Related Facts.

If any of the health care coverage is paid by an Obligor which is subject to the reimbursement because of Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare or Public Assistance, this figure should not be entered on line 10, Support Related Facts, and instead entered directly on the Minnesota Child Support Worksheet. See Minn.St. § 518A.41 (Westlaw / WestlawNext). Any amounts entered on line 10, Support Related Facts automatically calculate the proportionate share according to PICS.  Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare or Public Assistance reimbursements are paid by the third-party obligor only (which would normally be the non-custodial parent).

For special considerations relating to Health Care, see Minn.St. § 518A.41 (Westlaw / WestlawNext).


Social Security, Veteran, or Educational Assistance

All money received on behalf of the child by a parent is added to the gross income of the parent for determining child support and is subtracted from the obligor’s share of the total child support obligation. Enter the amount on line 11, Support Related Facts for Veterans’ Educational Assistance and the amount for the child’s Social Security benefit on line 12, Support Related Facts. See Minn.St. § 518A.31 (Westlaw / WestlawNext) and M.S.A. § 518A.26, subd. 2 (Westlaw / WestlawNext).


Self-Support Reserve (SSR)

The child support rules include a reduction in child support payments under the guidelines when the low-income obligor has insufficient funds to pay child support, child care, and health care after taking into account a self-support reserve.   The self-support reserve is based on 120% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  The MN Department of Health Services will review the amount to be used annually and post it on their website.  The amount used in the software will be the current amount at the time the software is first distributed for the year. There is an option to change this amount as needed on line 9, Support Related Facts. The software will automatically calculate the appropriate results. See Minn.St. § 518A.42 (Westlaw / WestlawNext).

If the SSR amount changes prior to a normal release schedule, go to the General menu, Utilities, Create Report Header Line and enter the new amount where provided. Select the green checkmark and this will store that number as the new default for all existing and future cases automatically.

If the Obligor has zero income, then no support is required. See Minn.St. § 518A.26, subd 14 (Westlaw / WestlawNext), for the definition of Obligor.

If the Obligor has income of $1 up to the SSR, the basic support is required as follows:

If the Obligor’s income available to pay child support, after deducting the SSR as shown below, is less than the Basic Minimum Support shown above, the Obligor must pay the Basic Minimum Support but in this kind of a case no medical or child care costs will be considered.

If the Obligor has income greater than the SSR and also greater than the Minimum Basic Support Amount, the Obligor’s final child support obligation is determined as follows: