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When can a parent ask DHS for help in collecting child support?

Many parents in Minnesota understand the importance of child support to a custodial parent. Child support allows the custodial parent to provide his or her children with basic necessities. This can include anything from food, clothing and shelter to education and medical expenses. Unfortunately, sometimes a noncustodial parent fails to live up to his or her end of a child support order. Paying child support, however, is not an option.

When a custodial parent in Minnesota is not receiving the child support payments he or she is owed, it can make life very difficult. When a noncustodial parent has refused to pay or cannot pay for some reason, it is rarely easy for the custodial parent to do anything about it. Fortunately, the Minnesota Department of Human Services can help custodial parents depending on their situation.

In order for the DHS to reach out to a court about a parent's nonpayment, three things must be true:

  1. The noncustodial parent must have been ordered to pay child support by a court.
  2. The noncustodial parent must have failed to comply with a payment plan, which was approved by the DHS or the court.
  3. The amount the noncustodial parent owes must be at least three times what he or she is required to pay each month.

There are a few circumstances in which the DHS may not be able to help, such as if the noncustodial parent is in jail, incapacitated, or a court has ordered that contempt proceedings cannot occur in your case. In those cases, it may be wise to speak to an attorney.

Minnesota custodial parents deserve to get the child support they deserve. Seeking help from the DHS is just one way to recover unpaid child support.

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services, "Child Support - Contempt Proceedings for Non-Payment of Support," Nov. 13, 2013

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