There are two bills that have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature. One would establish a permanent advisory committee on child support guidelines.
The other one is a bigger substantive change. Child support would be calculated based on the income shares of the parents, like it is now. But the parenting expense adjustment would be much more variable than the current statute.
Currently, there are only three parenting expense adjustments: one for cases in which parents share custody equally (or nearly equally); one for cases in which one of the parents has little or no parenting time with the child(red); and one for all other cases.
The new statute would create a graduated parenting expense adjustment based upon the specific parenting schedule. The adjustment would be based on the number of overnights each parent is the on-duty parent over the course of the year.
I am concerned that the new statute will create a bigger issue for parents to dispute. Many times separated parents argue over custodial time, not because of what is good for the children, but because of the impact is has on the amount of child support. Under the current structure, this issue (to fight about) is only regarding whether the threshold for “nearly equal” parenting time has been met. Under the new statute, that issue could be a bone of contention in many more instances, because any change to the number of overnights results in a change in the amount of child support.
The bill was to be heard in legislative committees this past week. Watch this space.