Child support

Every child needs financial and emotional support from both parents. Child Support helps ensure children receive basic support, medical care and child care.

The county works with both parents to provide child support. We serve families of all compositions.

Hennepin County Child Support provides four primary services:

  • Establish paternity, including genetic testing
  • Establish court orders for child support
  • Collect child support and enforce court orders
  • Help families modify court orders when things change

The child support office does not:

  • Provide legal advice about separation or divorce
  • Resolve parenting time or custody issues
  • Enforce spousal maintenance
  • Oversee collection of unpaid bills
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Apply for services

Apply for services in the county where you live or which issued a court order for child support.

If the custodial parent receives public assistance

The case automatically goes to the child support office.

If the custodial parent does not receive public assistance

Complete an application

  • By phone: Call 612-348-3593 and leave your name and address. An application package will be sent to you by mail.
  • Online: Download an application: English (PDF), Hmong (PDF), Spanish (PDF), Somali (PDF)
  • In person: Visit the child support office at the Family Justice Center or any Hennepin County human service center.

Mail the completed application

Include copies of all court orders regarding paternity, child support or divorce decrees. 

Hennepin County Child Support Services
MC L890
110 South 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55401

After you submit your application

Your completed application may take up to 20 days to process. We will contact you if we need more information or when you have been assigned a worker.

Establish paternity

Establishing paternity means to make the biological father the legal father.

If the mother is married at the time of birth, Minnesota law presumes that she and her spouse are the legal parents of the child.

If the mother is unmarried at the time of the child’s birth, Minnesota law recognizes her as the legal parent. She has sole physical and legal custody until there is a court order stating otherwise.

Two ways to establish paternity if the parents are not married to each other

Recognition of parentage

If the mother is not married to anyone else, the parents can sign and file a Recognition of Parentage with the Department of Vital Statistics. This can only be used if the parties are the biological parents.

If the mother is married to someone else who is not the father, he can sign a document called a “non-paternity joinder." Filing the joinder at the Department of Vital Statistics together with the Recognition of Parentage establishes paternity. This only applies if the child is less than one year old.

Court action

A court action to establish paternity can be started by the mother, father, or the child support office.

Genetic testing

Genetic testing is encouraged prior to signing a Recognition of Parentage or admitting paternity.

The child support office can help you:

  • With the Recognition of Parentage form 
  • Begin the paternity court process
  • Arrange for genetic testing if either party applies for child support services or if the child receives public assistance

If either the mother or the alleged father has any doubts about who the biological father is, they should have genetic testing done before admitting paternity.

For more information

From the state courts:

From the MN Department of Human Services:

How child support works

Three types of child support

Basic support

Basic support is for expenses relating to the child's basic needs, such as housing, food, clothing and transportation.

Medical support

Medical support may include health care coverage (which may include dental and vision coverage); or to reimburse the government if the child is on Medical Assistance; or to pay a portion of the child’s uninsured, unreimbursed medical or dental costs.

Child care support

Child care support is for child care costs.

How support is set

  • Support is determined using both parents' monthly gross income and court ordered parenting time. If both parents agree on a child support amount, the child support office may help make the agreement official with a court order.
  • If a parent is required to support more than one family, the child support office must send payments to all of the families who are owed support.
  • Medical and child care costs are divided between the parents, based on each parent’s income.

Getting clarity on the child support

Use the State of Minnesota’s parenting time calendar to count the number of court-ordered overnights each parent has with their children when parents don't live together. Then, estimate your child support with the State of Minnesota’s guidelines calculator. For an accurate estimate, you will need good information about the other parent's finances.

How parents pay

  • Income withholding is the most common way of paying, where support is taken directly from the parent’s paycheck. Employers are required to report all new hires, which helps the child support office know when to withhold income. It may take as long as 45 days to receive an initial payment from a new employer.
  • If income withholding is not an option, you may choose from several payment options: online using Minnesota Child Support Online, with cash using PayNearMe or MoneyGram; mail; or through automatic withdrawal.
  • Do not send your child support payment directly to the custodial parent. The Minnesota Child Support Payment Center needs a record of the payment.

For more information on how parents pay:

How parents receive payments

The Minnesota Child Support Payment Center sends collected support to the parent within two days of receipt. You may choose to receive support by direct deposit into a checking, savings or stored value card account.

Missed or late payments

If a parent does not make their payment on time, the child support office may take the following actions:

  • Suspend the person’s driver’s and occupational licenses 
  • Intercept income and property tax refunds and lottery winnings
  • Report unpaid balances to credit bureaus
  • Refer a case for criminal prosecution

If your situation changes, such as job loss, it is critical you contact your child support worker to discuss possible solutions.

Request changes to child support

Either parent can request changes to the amount due. But that’s only possible if one’s financial situation or the child’s living arrangement changes substantially.

Two options for requesting a change

File a motion with Hennepin County District Court:

  • You may file a motion to modify your support order. There is a fee, but it can be waived under some situations.
  • You may hire an attorney, but one is not required. If you do hire an attorney, you must notify the child support office.
  • Find forms on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website.

Request county review

Hennepin County’s child support office can review your order to determine if it meets requirements for changes. A review could result in an increase or decrease in child support payments. Learn about changing a child support order.

Request a review with one of these options:

When child support ends

Most cases close when a child turns 18 or has graduated from high school (whichever is later) and the parent has made all payments.

The parent who applied for services can request to close a case when:

  • Neither parent owes public assistance debts
  • The custodial parent does not receive Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) payments, Medical Assistance or child care assistance
  • The court has determined that payment of support directly to the custodial parent is in the best interests of the child or children

To close a case, call your child support worker or complete the form Request to Close Support Case (PDF) and mail to:

Hennepin County Child Support Services
PO Box 1234
Minneapolis, MN 55440-1234

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