How is Child Support Ordered in Minnesota

As previously stated, child support is ordered by a district court judge, district court referee, or child support magistrate. Child support magistrates preside over IV-D cases only (again, cases where the county is involved because the obligee receives public assistance or the obligor or obligee asks the county for child support enforcement services). Non-IV-D cases or IV-D cases where additional contested issues are involved (such as custody or parenting time), are heard by a judge or referee in district court. Minn. Stat. §§ 484.702 and 518A.46.

Child support cases heard by child support magistrates are governed by a set of rules aimed to expedite and simplify the process. Accordingly, the procedures are called the “expedited process” or the “expedited child support hearing process.” The rules for the expedited process are promulgated by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 351 to 379.

Magistrates, judges, and referees all have the power to establish, modify, or enforce child support orders. In every case, the orders can be appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. In cases heard by magistrates, orders can be appealed to district court or directly to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. In Hennepin County, referee orders and decrees can be appealed directly to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Minn. Stat. § 484.65, subd. 9. For simplicity, this information brief uses the term “court” when referring to both the district court and the expedited process.

A person seeking to obtain, modify, or enforce a child support order should contact his or her county child support office or a private attorney for direction on how to proceed. Additionally, most county court administrators have forms available for people who represent themselves. There are a variety of court forms available on the Minnesota State Court System website. General information about child support can also be obtained on the “Children” page of the Department of Human Services website at, or by using the terms “child support” to search the DHS site.

CREDIT: The content of this and any related posts have been copied or adopted from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s Information Brief, Minnesota’s Child Support Laws, written by legislative analyst Lynn Aves.

This post is also part of a series of posts on Child Support Laws in Minnesota.

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