518A.32 POTENTIAL INCOME.
Subdivision 1. General.
This section applies to child support orders, including orders for
past support or reimbursement of public assistance, issued under this chapter, chapter 256, 257,
518B, or 518C. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed, underemployed, or employed on a less than
full-time basis, or there is no direct evidence of any income, child support must be calculated
based on a determination of potential income. For purposes of this determination, it is rebuttably
presumed that a parent can be gainfully employed on a full-time basis. As used in this section,
"full time" means 40 hours of work in a week except in those industries, trades, or professions
in which most employers, due to custom, practice, or agreement, use a normal work week of
more or less than 40 hours in a week.
Subd. 2. Methods.
Determination of potential income must be made according to one of
three methods, as appropriate:
(1) the parent's probable earnings level based on employment potential, recent work history,
and occupational qualifications in light of prevailing job opportunities and earnings levels in
(2) if a parent is receiving unemployment compensation or workers' compensation, that
parent's income may be calculated using the actual amount of the unemployment compensation or
workers' compensation benefit received; or
(3) the amount of income a parent could earn working full time at 150 percent of the current
federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher.
Subd. 3. Parent not considered voluntarily unemployed, underemployed, or
employed on a less than full-time basis.
A parent is not considered voluntarily unemployed,
underemployed, or employed on a less than full-time basis upon a showing by the parent that:
(1) the unemployment, underemployment, or employment on a less than full-time basis is
temporary and will ultimately lead to an increase in income;
(2) the unemployment, underemployment, or employment on a less than full-time basis
represents a bona fide career change that outweighs the adverse effect of that parent's diminished
income on the child; or
(3) the unemployment, underemployment, or employment on a less than full-time basis is
because a parent is physically or mentally incapacitated or due to incarceration, except where the
reason for incarceration is the parent's nonpayment of support.
Subd. 4. TANF recipient.
If the parent of a joint child is a recipient of a temporary assistance
to a needy family (TANF) cash grant, no potential income is to be imputed to that parent.
Subd. 5. Caretaker.
If a parent stays at home to care for a child who is subject to the child
support order, the court may consider the following factors when determining whether the parent
is voluntarily unemployed, underemployed, or employed on a less than full-time basis:
(1) the parties' parenting and child care arrangements before the child support action;
(2) the stay-at-home parent's employment history, recency of employment, earnings, and the
availability of jobs within the community for an individual with the parent's qualifications;
(3) the relationship between the employment-related expenses, including, but not limited to,
child care and transportation costs required for the parent to be employed, and the income the
stay-at-home parent could receive from available jobs within the community for an individual
with the parent's qualifications;
(4) the child's age and health, including whether the child is physically or mentally disabled;
(5) the availability of child care providers.
This subdivision does not apply if the parent stays at home only to care for other nonjoint
Subd. 6. Economic conditions.
A self-employed parent is not considered to be voluntarily
unemployed, underemployed, or employed on a less than full-time basis if that parent can show
that the parent's net self-employment income is lower because of economic conditions that are
directly related to the source or sources of that parent's income.
History: 2005 c 164 s 29; 1Sp2005 c 7 s 28; 2006 c 280 s 19; 2007 c 118 s 3-6