Minnesota Child Support Basics

All Parents

If a parent consents to have a child reside with an individual or entity other than the parent, or if the child does so by court order, the parent can be required to pay support for the child. Minn. Stat. § 256.87, subd. 5

A parent who is financially able to support a child but continually fails to do so may have his or her parental rights terminated by the juvenile court. Minn. Stat. § 260C.301, subd. 1(b)(3)

Divorced Parents

The court may order either or both parents to pay child support. A parent may also be required to provide health insurance or pay medical or child care expenses for a child. Child means an individual who is (1) under age 18; (2) under age 20 and still attending secondary school; or (3) because of his or her physical or mental condition, unable to support himself or herself. Minn. Stat. §§ 518A.26, subd. 5; 518A.40; 518A.41; 518A.44

Support Guidelines

Statutory guidelines and other specified factors affect the amount of parental support that courts will award to children of divorced parents, unless the parents reach an alternate agreement that is approved by the court. Minn. Stat. § 518A.35; 518A.43

Unmarried Parents

If an individual admits she or he is a child’s parent or if parentage is established in a court action, the individual is legally obligated to support the child and will be ordered to pay the amount indicated in the statutory guidelines. Minn. Stat. §§ 257.66, subd. 3; 257.67, subd. 1; 518A.44


If a court orders a parent to pay child support, including health insurance or medical or child care costs, legal mechanisms can be used to enforce the order in Minnesota or against a parent who moves to another state. Minn. Stat. §§ 256.87; 257.67; 548.091; ch. 518; ch. 518A; ch. 518C


When a divorced parent seeks a change in court-ordered child support, the income of both parents’ new spouses, if any, will not be considered in raising or lowering the support amount. Minn. Stat. §§ 518A.29(f); 518A.39, subd. 2(d)(1)

For further information, speak with an experienced Minnesota child support attorney, or visit our post which outlines Minnesota child support laws in more detail.

The content of this and any related posts has been adopted or copied from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s December 2010 publication, Youth and the Law – A Guide for Legislators, written as a collaborative effort by the Research Department’s legislative analysts.