ADULT & FAMILIESFinancial AssistanceChild Support   

Child Support

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.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services Child Support Enforcement Division supervises the child support program. County child support offices administer it by working with parents to establish and enforce support orders.

The Child Support program helps:

• Children receive the financial basic support, medical support, and child care support they deserve
• Families work toward becoming and remaining self-sufficient
• Parents establish a financial partnership Child support is a financial obligation of a parent not in the home to help pay money for the support of his/her child(ren).  

The Child Support office does not help with:

• Divorces
• Parenting time and custody
• Spousal maintenance (alimony) establishment
• Legal advice or counsel.

Child support agencies and county attorneys do not represent either parent in child support court actions. Rather, they represent the best interests of the child according to the requirements of child support statutes and guidelines.

Child Support Enforcement

The County Attorney's Public Health and Human Services Division works closely with St Louis County’s child support office in bringing legal actions to establish paternity, set child support or to enforce child support orders. These actions are brought on behalf of children whether or not public assistance is being expended.

In the case of unmarried parents, we may file a paternity action to legally establish the father of the child(ren). Our investigators may conduct genetic testing, which involves the alleged father, mother and child(ren) having a genetic sample taken for testing of DNA present in the samples.

Once paternity is established, the court may order a child support order. Under Minnesota law, the amount of child support to be paid is based on an income share guidelines model. Using this model, the Court looks at the gross income or potential income of both parents. The Court also considers the expenses for non-joint children living in the home of the parent, child support orders for non-joint children not living in the home of the parent, spousal maintenance obligations, the receipt of social security or veteran’s benefits, an adjustment for court-ordered parenting time, and the ability of the obligor to pay support. The law requires that payments be made to a central state payment agency, which forwards the payment to the custodial parent. Payments are often made through automatic wage withholding from the paycheck of the obligor (parent ordered to pay support).

If an obligor does not pay the court-ordered child support, our office may take various enforcement actions. We can seek interception of income tax returns, license suspension (including driver’s license, hunting and fishing licenses, and professional licenses such as a doctor's or lawyer's license), and/or passport denial. The office can bring a legal action to have the obligor found in civil contempt, resulting in the possibility of money judgments being imposed and jail time being served.

You can apply for support and collections services if:

• You are the parent or alleged father of a minor child, or
• A minor child lives in your household; and
• At least one parent of the child lives away from the home

Most people who apply for full child support enforcement services must pay a $25 nonrefundable application fee. To apply for services, complete the

Full Child Support (IV-D) Services Application

and return it to the county child support agency. Include the $25 application fee made payable to Minnesota Child Support Payment Center.

If you already have a court order, the order must include child support or paternity issues to qualify for full child support services. The court order may also include spousal maintenance.

Contact: Duluth: 218-726-2016; Virginia: 218-749-7126 or call toll-free 800-450-9777

For more information visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services - Child Support website.

Parents who have Child Support cases managed by St Louis County can get information about their case at Minnesota Child Support Online.