As parents go through their divorce or separation process, one component they will have to discuss is child support. These payments are crucial in ensuring that children receive appropriate financial support from their parents after a separation. However, it can be difficult for some individuals to make payments on time due to other circumstances.
For this reason, there are changes being made to child support laws in Minnesota. Divorced or separated parents must be aware of these changes and how they may impact their children, and Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C. can help explain.
Minnesota’s Current Stance on Child Support
Currently, child support in Minnesota is calculated on the basis of several different guidelines. These guidelines help the courts determine a fair agreement between spouses in terms of how much they pay. These payments are made monthly and are typically awarded to the parent that has primary physical custody of the child.
What Guidelines Are Taken Into Account?
It is important for parents to be aware of the guidelines that the courts may take into account when determining fair payments. These include:
- The financial circumstances of each parent
- The financial needs of the child or children
- The standard of living the child is accustomed to
- The cost of living depending on the child’s location
- The parent that receives exemptions on taxes
- The existing debts the parents may have
- The ability each parent has to make payments
While the courts can deviate from these guidelines, these are most likely to contribute to finalizing payment agreements. While these decisions are not taken lightly, it is still possible for other issues to play a role in a parent’s ability to make payments regularly and in full.
What Happens When Parents Do Not Pay?
Past due child support payments are known as arrearages. When a parent has extensive arrearages, the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) and family court judges can take legal and financial action against them. There are many different things that they may decide to do, for example:
- File a legal action known as “contempt,” which requires the parent to attend court and provide an explanation as to why support payments have not been made in a timely manner.
- Report parents to their credit bureaus and subsequently damage their credit scores and reports.
- Most commonly, the CSED may choose to charge interest on any arrearages, which can make the repayment even more difficult.
There are other actions the CSED may take to obtain repayments, all of which can cause further financial hardship to parents.
Changes To Minnesota Payments
It is important for laws and regulations to update over time to accurately reflect modern economic struggles and family dynamics. This is why Minnesota has passed legislation to make child support payments more accessible to families and children. Several changes will be made over the next few years.
No Longer Charging Interest
Perhaps one of the biggest changes being made is adding interest to arrearages. As of August 2022, the state of Minnesota will no longer charge interest to a parent with past due payments. While this may seem as if it is removing consequences from the parent(s), this action will have benefits, including:
- Allowing parents to limit the number of debts they incur.
- Giving parents more of an opportunity to make complete and timely payments for their children.
Future Changes to Expect
Later on, Minnesota will implement other changes to child support. These changes include allowing parents to create a payment agreement plan before reporting to any credit agencies. Furthermore, there will also be modifications to how support is determined in order to accurately determine the appropriate payments and make it easier for individuals to provide support to their families.
Questions? Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C. Has The Answers
Do you have questions about your child support payments and what changes are occurring? The team at Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C. can help provide an explanation.
Concerned about child support? Schedule a consultation with our attorneys by calling (612) 712-3890.