Skip the Child Support in MN, Risk Federal Criminal Prosecution
Child support is an important part of family law in Minnesota.
It’s one of the most important types of support offered to children, helping kids receive the care they need to grow into functional adults. Because of this, the legal system takes the enforcement of child support payments seriously.
In fact, child support is taken so seriously that failing to pay it can lead to federal prosecution. If you disagree with your mandated child support payments, it’s better to fight them in court than to simply not pay.
How Minnesota Child Support Is Determined
Minnesota child support is awarded in order to help cover the costs of raising a child. It can come into play in two ways:
- When married parents divorce
- When unmarried parents file for a custody order
Both of these cases imply that the parents will be living separately and the child will no longer spend all of their time with both parents.
Where the Child Spends More Time
The goal of child support is to allow both parents to support the child equally. As a result, child support takes into account who has custody of the child. Generally, the person who has custody of the child more often will be awarded child support and the parent with less custody will pay the support.
Which Parent Earns a Greater Income
The other factor in determining child support is the respective incomes of both parents. It’s rare that two people earn the same amount. In general, the parent who earns more will be ordered to pay child support to the other parent.
Minnesota Child Support Calculator
Judges take both of these into account when they decide whether and how much child support to award. As a result, child support orders are typically well-thought-out and follow the Minnesota child support calculator guidelines.
The amount to be paid is a legal obligation, not just a recommendation. If you are obliged to pay child support and you don’t, you’re violating federal law.
How Skipping Owed Support Results in Federal Prosecution
Once child support has been mandated by the court, it’s legally binding. Minnesota has its own specific laws surrounding the payment and enforcement of child support orders.
The state can take steps like filing a contempt of court proceedings charge, passport holds, seizure of financial assets, and charging interest on the owed funds. However, they can only take these actions against someone who still lives and works in the state of Minnesota.
Crossing MN State Lines
Leaving the state to avoid paying child support can be even worse, however. Federal prosecution for intentionally avoiding child support comes into effect if you cross state borders.
Leaving Minnesota to avoid child support wage garnishment can lead to federal prosecution. In fact, it can even lead to 6 months in prison for a first offense, or up to two years in prison for a subsequent offense.
The federal court system will also likely seize assets in order to cover the total unpaid support obligation. Avoiding this can be simple, though.
Alternatives to Skipping Child Support Payments
If your circumstances have changed and you can no longer cover the owed child support, you can petition the Minnesota court system to lower the ordered amount.
Child support is intended to support the child, not financially ruin either parent. If you feel you are under an unfair child support order, reach out to an experienced family law attorney.
They will be able to help you negotiate a child custody and support agreement that you can afford.
About the Author:
A former Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial District in Duluth and former staff attorney for the Indian Legal Assistance Program, Brent R. Olson is an experienced trial lawyer who has appeared in every Courthouse in the Sixth Judicial District and taken over three dozen cases to verdict. At LaCourse, Poole & Envall, Mr. Envall focuses on family law, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense. He has a strong belief in restorative justice and helped to develop the Domestic Violence Restorative Circles program.