DHS News Release - Child support changes reflect modern families’ needs

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AUG. 13, 2021

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Jeanine Nistler

Child support changes reflect modern families’ needs

August is Child Support Awareness Month

With new legislation passed in 2021 to reflect modern economics and family dynamics, Minnesota’s child support program helps children get the financial support they need to reach their highest potential.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services, with its county and tribal partners, supports parents and their children through the child support program. Over the next several years, implementing the new legislation will better support children and their families in several ways, including by:

  • Eliminating interest on child support debt
  • Helping families, particularly families with low incomes, determine appropriate child support with updated child support guidelines
  • Providing tribal resources in 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.”

As of August 2022, Minnesota will no longer charge interest to parents with past due child support payments, allowing parents to limit or reduce their debt and increase the likelihood of complete, timely payments for their children’s well-being.

Beginning January 2023, parents will have the opportunity to create a payment agreement plan before their debt is reported to a credit agency, giving them an opportunity to catch up before credit reporting begins.

Other modifications in January 2023 will help more effectively determine child support. Changes to the guidelines will lead to lower support amounts for families with a joint income of $6,000 per month or less. These guidelines ensure families have orders that more accurately reflect their situation so both parents can support their children. Additional changes to appropriately determine child support include:

  • Greater income deductions for non-joint children (either parent’s child but not a child both parents had together) in the home for up to six children
  • Deductions for non-joint children for whom parents are legally responsible but do not have a child support order.

These legislative changes to the guidelines were developed out of the Child Support Task Force created by the Minnesota Legislature in 2016, to make it easier for individuals to better support their families.

Also, as of May 22, 2021, tribal families now receive services closer to their communities. State courts may transfer child support cases involving tribal families to a tribal court, reducing confusion for tribal families and supporting tribal sovereignty. 

Gov. Tim Walz has declared August as Child Support Awareness Month, a reminder of the importance of investing in the future for children. For more information visit, the department’s child support webpage.

Minnesota’s county and state child support staff provided services for almost 324,000 parents and their 226,000 children in 2020.