Every child needs financial and emotional support, and every child has the right to support from both parents. Minnesota's child support program benefits children by enforcing parental responsibility for their support.
Devoted parents can be loving and supportive forces in their children’s life. Even when parents do not live together, they need to work together to support their children. Without the involvement of both parents, too many children do not get the chance they need and deserve to reach their full potential.
Minnesota’s child support program helps parents establish a financial partnership.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services Child Support Division and county child support agencies work with both parents to establish and enforce support orders. Together, they help families become and remain self-sufficient through improved child support collections.
Child support is money a parent is court-ordered to pay to their child's other parent or caregiver for the support of the child. The support may be part of an interim, temporary, permanent or modified court order in a:
- Divorce or legal separation
- Parentage action
- Order for protection
- Child custody action
- Separate child support action.
A person can receive child support if all of the following apply:
- The person is the parent of a minor child or is the person who has court-ordered custody of the minor child.
- The minor child lives in the person's household.
- The child is financially dependent on that person.
- One or both of the child's parents are absent from the home.
- A court has ordered a child's parent to pay child support.
Child support services are available to:
- Parents of minor children, if one parent does not live with the child
- Parents who pay child support through court-ordered income withholding
- People who have court-ordered, physical custody of a minor child
- People who receive public assistance for a minor child who lives in their home
Learn more about options for child support services for which you can apply.
Child support offices provide services for:
- Locating parents
- Establishing parentage
- Establishing court orders for basic support, medical support and childcare support
- Enforcing court orders for support
- Reviewing and modifying court orders for support
- Working with other states to enforce support when one parent does not live in Minnesota
- Collecting and processing payments.
Child support offices do not help with:
- Parenting time and custody
- Spousal maintenance (alimony) establishment
- Legal advice or counsel.
Child support offices and county attorneys do not represent either parent in child support court actions. Instead, they represent the best interests of the child according to the requirements of child support statutes and guidelines. In Minnesota, parents can also use an expedited process to resolve child support matters where they can represent themselves.