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S.F. No. 3142 - Child Support Parenting Expense Adjustment (first engrossment)
Author: Senator Barb Goodwin
Prepared By:
Date: April 5, 2016


This bill makes changes in the formula for calculating the parenting expense adjustment to child support obligations and amends related statutes.

Section 1 amends the statute governing modification of parenting time to provide that if a parenting plan or parenting time order cannot be used to determine the number of overnights a child has with each parent, the court must modify the plan or order so that the amount may be determined for purposes of the statute governing the parenting expense adjustment.

Section 2 amends the definition of “obligor” to provide that if a parent has more than 55% court-ordered parenting time, there is a rebuttable presumption that the parent has a zero dollar basic support obligation.  Factors to be considered overcoming this presumption are specified.  It does not eliminate an obligation to pay child support arrears or apply in cases where the public authority is bringing an action for contribution by a parent.

Section 3 modifies the parenting expense adjustment to the basic support obligation, consistent with other amendments in the bill.  New provisions are included governing calculations in cases where parents have split custody of joint children.  Parallel provisions are included for purposes of the basic support obligation, child care support obligation, and medical support.

Section 4 provides that unless a parent has court-ordered parenting time, the parenting expense adjustment formula must not be applied.  Special provisions are included in cases where a support order is sought by the public authority.

Section 5 contains the operative language governing changes in the parenting expense adjustment.

Subdivision 1 requires the percentage of time in a calendar year that a child is scheduled to spend with the parent to be calculated based on a two-year average.  Language governing the use of overnight equivalents for purposes of calculating the percentage of parenting time is included.

Subdivision 2 contains the new formula for the calculation of the parenting expense adjustment.

Subdivision 3 strikes language applicable in cases where parenting time is equal, which is replaced by new provisions in subdivision 2.

Section 6 amends the law governing modification of maintenance or support orders.  Special provisions are included for cases where child support was established by applying a parenting expense adjustment under prior law where there is no parenting plan or order from which overnights may be determined.  A formula is included for determining an obligation under previously existing child support guidelines.  Changes are made in the modification language applicable when child support guidelines are amended and application of the change would result in a hardship.

Section 7 contains an August 1, 2017, effective date.

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