Every parent works hard to provide their children with everything they need, ranging from the basics like food and shelter to fees for extracurricular activities and overnight summer camp. Parents are also very well acquainted with how costly it can be to provide for the children. To that end, the court can and almost always will order child support to help provide for the child’s needs if the parents divorce or separate. In Minnesota, child support will be determined based on several factors, not least of which is each parent’s income. If you make overtime income, you need to understand how that income may factor into your child support.
In Minnesota, child support will be determined using the gross income of both the custodial and noncustodial parent. Gross income is the income received by either parent before taxes and other deductions are taken. The law in Minnesota does allow the court to take overtime income from either parent into account when setting support, but not in every case. In order for a court in Minnesota to consider overtime income as part of the gross income for either parent, many conditions must be met. First, the child support has to be set at or above the guideline amount. Next, the parent must have started earning the overtime income only after the request for child support or divorce action was filed. Third, the parent must not have been earning similar overtime income any time in the past two years. Fourth, the overtime must not be compulsory. Next, the overtime income must be paid by the hour or fraction of the hour. Finally, the parent’s pay structure cannot have been modified for the purpose of avoiding or decreasing the child support obligation. If all of these conditions are met, overtime income will not be included in the parent’s gross income for child support purposes. The policy purpose of excluding overtime income from gross income is simple – divorce and separation is costly, and it is common for parents to need to work more hours to make ends meet. Automatically including new overtime income would make it difficult or impossible for a parent to ever “catch up” to financial obligations, including child support, as the more he or she works, the more he or she would automatically owe.
We can help you with understanding how child support is determined. Call us at (320) 299-4249 for a consultation to talk about your child and your support order.