Child Support

If my ex-boyfriend is unemployed, does that mean he won’t be ordered to pay child support?

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Child support is the money paid by one parent to another for the care and support of their children. Child support can be basic support, medical support and childcare support, if applicable.  Child support is paid by the parent who does not have physical custody of the children; if parents share equal custody, it is paid by the parent with the higher income.

Under Minnesota law, basic support are the payments that cover the cost of housing, food, clothing, education, etc.  Medical support contributes to the cost of health and dental insurance as well as the costs of medical and dental care.  Childcare support helps with child care costs while the custodial parent is at work or school.  All of these payments are intended to ensure that the child is financially supported by both parents.

There are statutory guidelines as to how child support should be set that are often used to calculate “guideline support.” While these calculations are helpful, they do not necessarily result in a support plan that fully addresses the needs of the parents and children.  Thus, within negotiations, there are opportunities to justify a deviation from guideline support to suit the facts of each case. Child support guidelines are a good option to use, but you want to be sure that all of your child’s financial needs are taken into account.

As incomes and other facts change, child support orders may need to be modified. It is important to pursue a modification as soon as the changes occur, as child support cannot be modified retroactively. It must be shown to be “a substantial change in circumstances” and that “the change has rendered the existing order unreasonable and unfair.” If these two criteria are met, there may be grounds to update the child support order.

With years of family law experience, Matt Ludt, of Stillwater, Minnesota based Atticus Family Law, can help you ensure that your child is being financially supported by both parents so that their daily needs are met.