When And How Child Support Will Be Awarded During The Divorce Process
In this article, you will learn:
- How child support and alimony will be calculated and awarded
Child support is awarded on one of three bases regarding the trigger that starts the conversation about child support. First, whether a party files a motion for support, whether it’s a temporary or permanent one, whether or not the parties have been married or not, it’s going to have that influence over that too. The second is that if one of the parties is receiving any kind of state services on behalf of children, whether that’s healthcare, whether that’s food stamps, whether that’s childcare, that automatically triggers what’s called the 4D case, and that refers to the area of the legal code for which this authority emanates. That code says that if the state has a financial interest or is expanding resources rather on behalf of a child, they have the power to the county’s child support services to trigger a child support determination. They need to make filings independent of the parties because they have a vested interest financially in the outcome here. So the state wants to know how much each of the parents is making. They probably already know what one parent is making because they had to apply for the services, so really, they’re asking for the other side and to make sure that the children and the state are both receiving what they feel is a just amount from the other parent in terms of their income and their affordability.
The third scenario where it could be triggered is if a party is filing for an order for protection. Orders for protection are usually the product of domestic abuse scenarios. They’re very powerful documents in the sense an OSP order can determine child support, child custody, visitation, contact, and all of the issues that you’ll be looking at in a divorce is having to resolve. Still, it does it on an extraordinarily short timeframe because the statute says these cases have to be done and resolved within a 14 to 21-day period of time, excluding any continuances of circumstances that require additional time. So again, those are kind of like the three triggers.
As far as what that support amount will be, there is a state statutory formula that takes in several different inputs. It takes in the income of both parties, the number of children involved, the number of non-joint children, meaning children that one party might have with another person, not with their former spouse or the parent of their children. It takes in the cost of any private healthcare child care, all of which are inputted into the calculator, and you get a presumptive number on the backend. That presumptive number is a number that one party will be paying the other party every month and that either can be done directly or through collection services, through child support services. So the number can vary considerably depending on how much the parties make, how many overnights, if any, the parties recognize or have an order stating that the parents share between them for the children. And the variability in that can be quite profound depending on how evenly distributed those overnights might be. For every overnight that a parent has, let’s say I’m the parent that has to pay. For every overnight that I have, that’s a little less every month than what I have to pay the child support because the state rightly presumes that I’m taking care of the kids. The same is true for anybody else.
So, while you can get to a presumptive number, that number can be modified based on very particular circumstances. It’s probably a little too esoteric to go them through here, but it’s enough to say that most of the battle isn’t arguing over the presumptive number that comes up at the backend when it comes to child support. It’s arguing over what should go into those inputs to determine that presumptive number because that’s something that the parties still have some influence or control over. Once you reach that presumptive number, the court’s more likely than not going to accept it. But how you get there can be influenced. And either done ethically or unethically, depending on how honest people are in terms of their financial disclosures, their expenses, costs or any insurance policies things of that nature. But I think one more important element of filing for child support, as is any motion in a family court matter, is that even if it takes a while to get through a resolution, it will be retroactive to the date and the month of filing.
Minnesota’s Recognition Of Alimony Or Spousal Support In Divorce Cases
Alimony or spousal support are interchangeable terms. It’s required by one side, and there will be an analysis done to determine who pays. Typically, the party that makes more money will end up paying because the parties have established a certain quality of time and lifestyle when they were together. To just wholly and suddenly end that even over several years are up, the court generally is not willing to do. So particularly if there’s a great earning disparity between a husband and wife or wife and husband, that’s going to be an alimony scenario. There’s no real fixed calculation for alimony. It tends to be a moving target for the most part. People don’t want to pay it, people want to get it, and often, that’s an issue that gets resolved, at least in my experience, through mediation and some exchange back-and-forth between the parties.
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