Saint Paul, MN

The Minnesota Department of Human Services Announced Child Support Program

Paula Carlsen

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ST. PAUL, MN - The Minnesota Department of Human Services, or DHS, releases information about the state's child support program, which aims to ensure that children receive the financial assistance they require to fulfill their full potential.

Through the child support program, the Department collaborates with county and tribal partners and is committed to parents and their children. With new legislation expected to be enacted in 2021 to reflect contemporary economics and family dynamics over the next several years, passing the new legislation will benefit children and their families in a variety of ways, including the following:

1. Elimination of interest charges on child support debt

2. Assisting families, particularly low-income families, in determining appropriate child support through the use of updated child support guidelines.

3. Incorporation of indigenous resources into local communities.

"These significant changes in law will better support Minnesota families and children in our child support program," said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. "Children need financial and emotional support from both parents, and these new laws support those efforts."

Minnesota will cease charging interest on past-due child support payments in August 2022, helping parents limit or eliminate debt and boost the possibility of making complete, timely payments for their children's well-being.

Beginning in January 2023, parents will be able to construct a payment agreement plan before their debt being reported to a credit agency, allowing them to catch up on missed payments before credit reporting begins.

Other changes scheduled for January 2023 will aid in the determination of child support more effectively. Changes to the criteria will decrease support levels for families earning less than $6,000 per month in combined income. These principles ensure that families receive orders that are more true representations of their circumstances, allowing both parents to support their children.

Additional changes to ensure that child support is determined accurately include the following:

1. Increased income deductions for non-joint offspring (children born to either parent but not to both parents) in the home for up to six children

2. Deductions for non-joint children whose parents are legally responsible but do not have a court order requiring them to pay child support.

These legislative modifications to the criteria were recommended by the Minnesota Legislature's Child Support Task Force in 2016 to make it easier for individuals to support their families better.

Furthermore, tribal families will access services closer to their villages beginning May 22, 2021. State courts may refer child support matters involving tribal families to tribal courts, relieving tribal families of misunderstanding and promoting tribal sovereignty.

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