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How to Enforce a MN Child Support Order
The enforcement process can be complicated. There might be more than one way to try to enforce support. Talk to a lawyer to learn which enforcement option is best for you.
The MN Dept. of Human Services is the state agency that regulates child support, and each county has a support and enforcement office. If your case involves the county support office, you can contact your caseworker to ask for help to enforce support. If the county is not involved in your case, you could apply for their services.
Child Support Enforcement Options
Six-Month Review Hearing
Upon request by one of the parties, a "6-month review hearing" can be held within six months from the date of the initial order that started child support. A review hearing is a time to meet with the magistrate (or judge) to see if the parties have been following the child support order. If child support was started more than 6 months ago, then you cannot use this review option. Information on how to request the 6-month review hearing should have been attached to your initial support order, or you can get it by contacting your court administrator.
The hearing is only to review how things have been going, so if you want to change the order or take steps to enforce it, you must file a separate court action.
Enforcement Options (by Statute)
NOTE: The MN Judicial Branch does NOT publish forms for license suspensions or motor vehicle liens. You could get more information at a law library or by talking to a lawyer, or you can apply for County Child Support Services. The County can use these enforcement tools.
Motion for Contempt of Court
If a party repeatedly fails to obey an Order to pay child support, the other party may choose to bring a Motion for Contempt of Court. A Judge can find a parent in "contempt of court" if the parent was ordered to pay support, knew about the order, and has refused to pay without good reason. A person in "contempt of court" is given a chance to correct the problem. If the parent does not do what the judge orders to correct the problem, the person can be put in jail.
Because jail time is possible punishment for contempt, there are special rules to make sure all parties are treated fairly. Filing a Motion for Contempt of Court is not a quick or easy process. The other party can file a Response to Motion for Contempt.
IMPORTANT! Carefully read and follow the Instructions in the forms packet. If you miss a step or make a mistake the court may not give you what you want, even if the other person has disobeyed the order without good reason. You should get advice from a lawyer in contempt actions.
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