You have been awarded child support in Minnesota, now what? Or, you have been receiving child support but payments stopped, now what? So many parents depend on the financial support they receive through these court-ordered payments, so it is important that child support orders are enforced.
At Heritage Law Office, our child support lawyer in Minnesota will guide you through the process, from requesting child support to enforcement of the same. Contact us through our online form or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about child support generally and enforcement specifically.
When Does Child Support in Minnesota Need to be Enforced?
Courts often enter orders that require one parent to pay another parent money for the care of a child they share. When an order is issued, enforcement is immediate. The order is sent to the appropriate agency, and an account is created for the issuance of child support. The government agency will usually enforce the child support order through wage garnishment. The money is directly taken from the supporting parent's wages and automatically sent to the parent receiving support. Some states send checks while others deposit it directly into bank accounts or provide debit cards.
When wages are not garnished, payments become a little harder to enforce. Some states may allow the supporting parent to pay the other parent directly. When the supporting parent fails to pay as ordered, the parent receiving the money is often left struggling to provide for their child. It is in this situation where we often find clients needing to have an order for child support enforced.
There is one misconception, however, and that involves instances where no child support order exists. Parents sometimes make arrangements among themselves, outside the court system, where they agree that one parent will pay the other parent a certain amount of money. When this happens, there is generally no way for the parent receiving the support to have the agreement made between the parties enforced. Instead, they will need to have a support order entered by the court. At Heritage Law Office, we understand that situations like this can be delicate. Clients run a fine line of trying to keep good relationships with the supporting parent while also advocating for their and their child's rights. We work with you to resolve these problems while representing your interests.
Ways Child Support is Enforced in Minnesota?
Child support can be enforced in multiple ways. As mentioned, in most jurisdictions, you likely do not have to take any action as the state or county in which you live will enforce the obligation on your behalf. Typically, this enforcement is through wage garnishment.
When wage garnishment is not available, there are other options. For example, the government agency can pursue tax offsets, can seize assets, or even deny a passport. In some states, it's a crime not to pay child support, and the supporting parent could face arrest and subsequent charges. These are all attempts to deter failure to pay and to punish when they fail to pay.
To find out how your jurisdiction specifically goes about enforcing child support, especially when the supporting parent has failed to pay and are in arrears, contact our child support attorney in Minnesota.
How Is Child Support Enforced across State Borders?
Enforcing child support orders in other states has, in the past, created significant difficulties for parents not receiving the support they need. Because of this, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) was enacted to allow states to enforce child support orders entered by other states. UIFSA limits the ability of states to modify an existing child support order while allowing them to enforce that order.
How Can a Child Support Lawyer in Minnesota Help You Get Child Support?
To be clear, you do not need a lawyer to help you enforce a child support order. You can contact your local government agency where the child support case has been established. Many parents, however, find the whole process intimidating and so we are here to help. Often, we have already been providing legal representation–clients come to us for representation in a divorce or to help file a petition for child support and child custody.
As your child support lawyer, we provide thorough, competent representation. We ensure the implementation of the child support order. If a parent fails to pay, we can file a motion with the court to enforce payment. We can also try to contact and work with the supporting parent to persuade them to restart payments promptly. Also, when it benefits you and the child, we can file a motion to modify the child support. It is all very case-specific. The key is providing the right representation you need for your unique situation.
Contact a Child Support Attorney in Minnesota Today
If you need a child support order enforced, take action today. It is in your child's best interests. At Heritage Law Office, our family law lawyer will guide you through the process. Contact us at 414-253-8500 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What Is the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) and How Does It Help in Cross-Border Child Support?
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) is a federal law that helps in the enforcement of child support orders across state lines. Prior to UIFSA, enforcing child support orders from one state to another was challenging due to differing laws and jurisdictional issues. UIFSA standardizes the process and allows states to enforce child support orders entered by other states, making it easier for custodial parents to receive the financial support they are owed, regardless of where the non-custodial parent resides.
2. What Happens if a Parent Fails to Pay Child Support in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, if a parent fails to make child support payments, several enforcement mechanisms can be initiated. Wage garnishment is the most common form of enforcement, where the employer of the non-paying parent is required to directly deduct child support from their paycheck. Other methods include seizing assets, intercepting tax refunds, or denying passports. In some cases, criminal charges may be brought against the non-paying parent, leading to fines or imprisonment.
3. Can I Modify a Child Support Order in Minnesota?
Yes, child support orders in Minnesota are not set in stone. They can be modified to reflect significant changes in circumstances such as income, custodial arrangements, or the needs of the child. Typically, you'll need to file a motion in court to request a modification. Both parents will have an opportunity to present their case, after which the court will decide whether to grant the modification.
4. What Types of Child Support Payments Can Be Ordered in Minnesota?
Minnesota allows for several types of child support payments. The most common is basic support for living expenses like housing, food, and clothing. Additionally, parents might be ordered to contribute to medical support and child care support. Sometimes, special expenses like tuition or extracurricular activities may be included in the support order depending on the circumstances of the case.
5. How Is Child Support Calculated in Minnesota?
Child support in Minnesota is generally calculated using a formula that takes into account the income of both parents, the number of children, and the amount of parenting time each parent has. Additional factors like the child's medical needs or educational expenses may also be considered. Courts often use the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of support. However, deviations from the guidelines are allowed in special circumstances.