State of Minnesota
More about
Attorney General
Lori Swanson

Minnesota Attorney General's Office

1400 Bremer Tower
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

(651) 296-3353
(800) 657-3787

M - F 8 am - 5 pm

TTY:(651) 297-7206
TTY:(800) 366-4812

Child Support and Child Custody Resources

CHILD SUPPORT AND CHILD CUSTODY RESOURCES

The Attorney General’s Office does not have authority over child support or child custody matters, nor can the Office provide legal advice in these types of matters, or review custody or support determinations made by the court. In an effort to be helpful, the Office provides the following information.

CHILD SUPPORT

The Attorney General’s Office does not have authority over child support matters. Child support collection in Minnesota is administered by the counties and supervised by the state Department of Human Services (“DHS”). DHS operates a Child Support Policy Help Desk to answer child support questions from citizens. You can reach the Help Desk at (651) 215-1714.

Child Support - Modification

The child support laws in Minnesota take into consideration the income of both parents and the parenting time of each parent. Any party may request a modification of a child support order upon specific showings that make the terms of the current order unreasonable or unfair. For a list of the showings considered by the court, see Minnesota Statutes section 518A.39, subdivision 2, by clicking here.

If you feel that you might qualify for a modification, you may wish to seek an experienced attorney to advocate for your rights. You can link directly to more information by accessing our Finding an Attorney page by clicking here.

Child Support - Resources

The Minnesota Judicial Branch also maintains an online Self Help Center that addresses common questions about child support. You may access the child support resources offered by the Self Help Center here.

DHS maintains an online child support calculator. This calculator can help to determine what your responsibilities may be. You can access this by clicking here: DHS Child Support Calculator.

The Minnesota Legislature’s Research Department published an informative article outlining specifics in the Minnesota laws relating to child support. The article, Minnesota’s Child Support Laws: An Overview, can be found by clicking here. Adobe PDF File

Minnesota child support statutes can be found at the website for the State of Minnesota, Office of the Revisor of Statutes, where you can view other statutes as well. Most of the statutes affecting child support are found at Minnesota Statutes chapter 518A (2010), which can be found by clicking here.

CHILD CUSTODY

The Attorney General’s Office does not have authority to review custody decisions made by a court or to provide legal advice in child custody matters.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch maintains an online Self Help Center that addresses common questions about child custody. You may access the child custody resources offered by the Self Help Center here.

Minnesota law bases custody evaluations on the best interests of the child. Minn. Stat. § 518.17, subd. 1 (2010). There are several factors that the court considers when determining the best interests of the child. These factors may be seen at the State of Minnesota, Office of the Revisor of Statutes website by clicking here. Either parent may seek a modification of custody if one year has passed since the custody order was issued. In certain circumstances, a parent may seek modification if less than one year has passed. Conditions required for modification can be found at the State of Minnesota, Office of the Revisor of Statutes website by clicking here. Even if a party wishes to modify a custody order, the court will not do so unless a change in circumstances has occurred so that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child.

The general provisions outlining Minnesota law regarding child custody matters are contained within Chapter 518 of the Minnesota Statutes. Additionally, there are a number of other Minnesota Statutes that reference child custody issues. You can access the Minnesota Statutes relevant to child custody by viewing the Minnesota’s Office of the Revisor’s website here.

CHILD PROTECTION

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, contact your county social service agency or the police. If it is an emergency, call the police at 911. For a listing of local county social services agencies, click here. For general questions regarding child protection, you may email the Department of Human Services (“DHS”) at the following address: DHS.Child.Safety-Permanency@state.mn.us.

Child protection in Minnesota is administered by the counties and supervised by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (“DHS”). As stated on the DHS child protection website, the purpose of child protection services is to help protect children from physical abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse, and to help families get the services they need to change their behaviors. The program is mandated by law in Minnesota Statutes section 626.566, the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act. Additional Minnesota Statutes referencing child protection can be found by clicking here.

FINDING A PRIVATE ATTORNEY:

For information on hiring a lawyer, click here.

FINDING A LEGAL AID ATTORNEY:

Retaining an experienced attorney can put a strain on already limited resources. The Minnesota Legal Services Coalition (“MLSC”) is an association of seven Minnesota regional legal services programs which help low-income Minnesotans at little or no cost with a broad range of civil legal matters. Click here to find a legal aid office near you.

FINDING AN ATTORNEY FOR A SPECIFIC NEED:

Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities:

The Minnesota Disability Law Center is a legal aid office that assists individuals with mental and physical health issues. You can reach the MDLC as follows:

Minnesota Disability Law Center
430 First Avenue N., Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1780
(612) 334-5970
www.mndlc.org

Children and the Law:

The Children’s Law Center

The Children’s Law Center (“CLCMN”) can sometimes arrange pro bono legal services to represent youth. It can be reached as follows:

Children’s Law Center of Minnesota
450 N. Syndicate
Suite 315
St. Paul, MN 55104
(651) 644-4438
www.clcmn.org

PREPARING YOUR OWN CASE - PRO SE

If you decide to move forward with legal action and choose to represent yourself (also known as pro se), the Minnesota Judicial Branch website contains information to help educate you on what you’ll need to know before you move forward. Click here to access the information. This website provides users with a variety of resources, including court forms and other information for pro se litigants that helps them understand different aspects of the judicial branch.