When is Child Support Ordered in Minnesota?

Minnesota Child Support Orders

If a married couple with minor children is divorced or obtains a legal separation, a court must enter a support order against one or both parents. If a married couple with minor children lives apart, one parent or the public authority may go to court to seek a support order against the other parent. Minn. Stat. § 518A.38, subd. 1.

If a child is born to parents who are not married to each other, paternity must be established before a court will order child support. Paternity can be established by court order or by the parents voluntarily executing a document called the Recognition of Parentage. Minn. Stat. §§ 257.66 and 257.75. In most cases where paternity is uncontested, establishing paternity is relatively simple. However, if paternity is contested or involves multiple parties, establishing paternity can be complex. A court may order an alleged father to pay temporary child support if genetic tests indicate a likelihood of paternity of 92 percent or greater. Minn. Stat. § 257.62, subd. 5.

If a child is in the custody of an entity or an individual other than a parent, either by court order or parental consent, a support order can be entered against the parents in favor of the individual or entity who has custody. Minn. Stat. § 256.87, subd. 5.

Obligor and Obligee

Obligor” is the legal term for the person ordered to pay maintenance or support. “Obligee” is the person to whom maintenance or support is owed. Usually the obligee is the parent with whom the child lives and the obligor is the other parent. But sometimes parents have joint physical custody or equal parenting time, each parent has physical custody of one or more of the couple’s children, or the child is not in either parent’s custody. For accuracy and clarity, this information brief uses the terms obligor and obligee. Minn. Stat. § 518A.26, subds. 13 and 14.

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.