Child support obligations are established by court order. These payments, which are intended to contribute to the financial support of a minor child, play a critical role in children’s wellbeing following separation or divorce.
Children are not able to care for themselves. Because of this, our laws are designed to grant children the right to receive support from a parent. Sometimes this means that child support works differently for different families. It’s good news for kids who benefit from the flexibility, but it can leave parents with a lot of questions.
How the State Determines Child Support Payments
There are no two ways about it: child support should be about your children.
States determine child support payments based on three types of projected expenditures:
- Basic support
- Medical care
- Child care
The amount of parenting time each parent spends with a child (or children) is also factored into child support agreements.
When does child support end?
Child support ends when a child turns eighteen or graduates from high school. Exceptions may arise when the parents agree on different parameters or if a child has special needs.
Who Can Ask for Child Support?
- A parent| This is the most common circumstance. Parents that live separately can go to court and establish an order for child support
- Somebody with third-party custody of the child| I.e. a grandparent or foster parent; these individuals may be able to ask the Minnesota court to order one or both parents to provide child support
- The County attorney’s office| Some parents receive public assistance on behalf of a minor child; in these cases, the county attorney’s office can serve and file pleadings. These pleadings establish the parent’s obligation to provide child support
Child Support Enforcement and Modification in Minnesota: Attorneys Who Specialize in Child Support
Sometimes, child support orders are modified. Modification can occur throughout the time the child receives support. Examples of circumstances that warrant a modification of child support orders include:
- Changes in employment
- Alterations to daycare or health care costs
- Changes in parenting time
Minnesota Child Support Enforcement Lawyer
Enforcement of child support orders is achieved in various ways, including through contempt actions. Our attorneys are qualified to discuss these matters with you whether you are the party receiving or paying child support.
When Parents Can’t Agree: Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques
If you and the other parent cannot finalize a child support agreement (or a modification of your current one), the issue can oftentimes be resolved through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques. You’ve probably heard of a few of them before– collaborative practice and mediation are especially popular.
Many of our clients are usually able to resolve their differences by focusing on their children’s’ needs during ADR sessions. At Beckman Steen & Lungstrom, P.A., our attorneys work with parents to resolve child support issues as collaboratively as possible. We always aim to achieve settlement, but remain prepared to present your case in a courtroom if necessary.
Issues Related to Child Support: What Can Our Attorneys Assist With?
We assist clients with a wide range of child support matters, including:
- Application of the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines
- Enforcement of child support awards
- Contempt actions
- Paternity and the obligation to pay child support
- Determining Income for Child Support purposes| If a parent is self-employed or a business owner, we are prepared to help. Our attorneys have extensive experience in the complexities of determining the appropriate income for child support obligations.
- Meeting your children’s financial needs| We regularly utilize creative means to achieve financial comfort for children
- Modifications of child support awards| Especially after a substantial change in circumstance occurs
- Custody and parenting time| These can both have an impact on child support; if you’re not sure how, one of our lawyers may be able to help
Beckman Steen & Lungstrom, P.A.: Experienced Child Support Attorneys
Our lawyers at our Minnetonka, Minnesota law firm are prepared to assist clients with any matters related to determining, receiving, or paying child support. If you have any questions about receiving or paying child support, contact us today to speak to a legal representative.