Child support may get a bad reputation, but if you consider its goal, it is admirable. The whole idea behind support is to uphold the responsibility you have to your children to support them financially. The court tries to assess a fair amount of support that will not only help the other parent to take care of your children’s needs but that will also enable you to take care of your own needs.

According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, child support is only the payments you make under a court order. If you buy gifts or pay for your children’s activities outside of the child support system, then that is not counted as your support obligation. To have any monetary contribution counted, you must pay through the system.

The court determines child support in three parts. Support is meant to pay for child care, medical needs and basic needs. Your support payments will go towards all three. The court uses a process called income shares to determine how much you pay.

The income shares system uses information about your income and the other parents income along with how many children you have and the costs of raising a child at your income level. When calculating the portion of support for basic needs, the court will also consider the allotment of parenting time, which will adjust the support for expenses you have during your parenting time. Specifically, the court looks at the number of overnights you each have with the children.

You have to provide the court with information about your finances. If either of you fails to do so, the court will find its own information, which could come from your past reported income or the amount of income the court deems you capable of earning.