From a traditional exchange of child support to an expense sharing arrangement, mediation affords you the flexibility to customize financial support arrangements in order to best meet your children’s needs after the divorce.
Mediating parents have a number of options for providing financial support for their children’s needs after divorce. As a starting point, it is helpful to calculate guideline child support using the MN Child Support Calculator which as of January 1, 2007 uses an income shares model for determining child support obligations. For example if Parent A earns $1000 (gross) per month and Parent B earns $3000 (gross) per month there is a combined amount of $4000 (gross) per month available to support the children. Of this amount, Parent A earns 25% and Parent B earns 75% – these percentages are referred to as PICS percentages (Parental Income Available for Child Support). The PICS percentages are used to calculate each parent’s required contribution to basic child support, medical support and daycare support. It is important to understand how to use the online calculator correctly as inputting information in the wrong column or using the wrong amounts can yield incorrect calculations. MN child support guidelines are also based on the amount of time each parent spends “on-duty” or parenting the children. There are three levels of parenting time: less than 10%; 10 – 45%; and 45.1% or more (shared parenting). Even if the parents share parenting time, it is possible for child support to be owed if one parent earns more money than the other. My process includes a complete explanation of how to properly input the information and how to read the calculator’s result. While many parents choose to follow the State guidelines; some parents decide to deviate from guideline support based on a variety of reasons. Still others adopt a less traditional (and more flexible) plan for sharing all expenses relating to the children, such as a joint checking account or monthly accounting and reimbursement method. Mediation allows you to be creative about how best to provide financial support for your children’s needs after the divorce.