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How are child support payments made in Minnesota?

Minnesota courts can order a non-custodial parent to pay child support in a divorce action, a paternity action, a separate action for child support or in other situations where a parent is absent from the child's home. But, how are child support payments typically made? The answer will depend in part on whether the public child support authority is involved.

In Minnesota's child support statutes, the term "public authority" refers to the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the county child support offices. The public authority is involved in all cases where the parent collecting child support has received public assistance, or has applied for child support enforcement services from their county child support office.

Income withholding is the preferred child support payment method in Minnesota. In any child support proceeding the court must either order withholding or specifically order a waiver of withholding. If the public authority is not involved in the case, the court can waive income withholding as long as the parents have agreed to the waiver in writing. If the public authority is involved, income withholding may be waived only if the court specifically finds that there is good cause for the waiver; that past payments have been timely made; and that income withholding is not in the child's best interest. When income withholding has been waived, the obligated parent can make payments directly to the other parent.

When income withholding is ordered, the obligated parent's employer is required to withhold the child support from the obligor's income. The employer then turns the withheld funds over to the state, either by check or electronic funds transfer. The state then deposits the funds directly to the recipient's bank account, usually within a couple of days.

Source: Minnesota House of Representatives, "Minnesota's Child Support Laws: An Overview," Lynn Aves, accessed Dec. 31, 2016

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