Child support

Hennepin County works to make sure that children get the support they need.

The county can help to locate parents; establish parentage; and set and enforce court orders for child support, medical support and child care support. 

Child support is the contribution that non-custodial parents make to ensure that their children have adequate care, living expenses and medical support. All of Minnesota’s 87 counties provide child support services, regardless of families’ socioeconomic status.

Hennepin County Health and Human Services Department provides four primary child support services to residents and people who have been issued a court order in Hennepin County:

  • Establishing paternity, including coordinating genetic testing
  • Establishing court orders to pay child support. Cases may be heard in Family Court, before a child support magistrate or district court referee
  • Collecting child support and enforcing court orders
  • Helping families to modify court orders

We do not provide legal advice or counsel, establish custody or parenting time, enforce spousal maintenance, or oversee the collection of unpaid bills. We also do not provide assistance with a legal separation or divorce.

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Paternity and custody and parenting time


Paternity means having legal fatherhood established. This gives certain rights and benefits to the father, the mother, and the child.

  • If the parents of a child are married to each other, the husband is the legal father of any child born or conceived while the parents are married.
  • If the parents are not married to each other at the time of the child's conception or birth, legal fatherhood is established in one of two ways. Parents can voluntarily go through the Recognition of Parentage process, or they can go through the paternity court process.
  • 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. 
  • Hennepin County can arrange for genetic testing if either party applies for child support services or if the child receives public assistance.

Get more information

Before signing a Recognition of Parenting form, parents should watch the DHS Paternity Video.

Information from the state courts

Translated forms

Custody and parenting time

A mother who was not married to the child’s father when the child was conceived or born has sole legal and physical custody of the child until a court orders otherwise. As a general rule, the child support agency does not get involved in custody or parenting time issues.

More information

Minnesota Courts: Child Custody and Parenting Time

Apply for services

To apply for child support services in Hennepin County you must be a resident of Hennepin County or have a Hennepin County court order. If you are a resident of Hennepin County, but have a court order from a different county, apply for services in the county that issued the court order.

Services are available to

  • Parents of minor children, if one parent does not live with the child
  • Parents who pay child support through court-ordered income withholding
  • People who have court-ordered, physical custody of a minor child
  • People who receive public assistance for a minor child who lives in their home

Fill out a child support application

There are three ways to get an application.

1. Call 612-348-3593. Leave your name and address. An application package will be sent to you by mail.

2. Download an application from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

3. Pick up an application at our office located in the Family Justice Center or at a regional human services center.

You also may pay additional cost recovery fees. Applicants who are receiving public assistance in Hennepin County do not pay a fee.

Mail your completed application

Include copies of any and all court orders that have been issued regarding paternity, child support, or divorce decrees.

Hennepin County Child Support Services
MC L890
110 S. 4th St.
Mpls, MN 55401

Next steps

Your completed application may take as long as 20 days to process.

We will review your case to determine how to proceed. If you have an existing enforceable court order you will hear from us within 30 days after your case is opened.

If court action is needed to determine paternity, or to establish an order for support, you will be contacted for more information or notified of the name and phone number of the worker assigned to process your case.

Financial aspects of child support

Determining a child support amount

  • Support is determined using both parents' monthly gross income. If both parents agree on a child support amount, the county can help make the agreement official with a court order.
  • If a parent is required to support more than one family, the county must send payment to all of the families who are owed support. Parents get credit for the spousal maintenance/alimony and/or child support that he or she is ordered to pay for other families, and each parent is eligible for a monthly deduction for as many as two unrelated children who live with that parent.
  • If a court orders visitation/parenting time, the parent who pays child support may receive a child support credit, based on his or her share of visitation/parenting time.
  • The costs of health coverage and child care are divided between the parents, based on each parent’s income. It is possible that the parent with custody could pay medical support or that amount will be used to decrease the other parent’s child support obligation.
  • Arrears, or past-due support, owed under the former child support standards are still valid and will be enforced under the new guidelines.
  • Estimate your child support with the State of Minnesota’s web calculator. For an accurate estimate, you will need good information about the other parent's finances.

Modifying an existing support order

If either parent's situation changes substantially, he or she may seek a modification.

File your own motion

In Hennepin County, you may file a pro se motion with District Court, Family Court Division to request a modification of your support order. There is a fee for filing, but the fee can be waived in some situations.

You do not need to hire an attorney in order to pursue a change in child support, although you may wish to do so. If you do hire an attorney to represent you in getting your child support order changed, you must notify our office. To find online resources, visit the Self Help Center, Child Support.

You can get help completing a pro se motion for modification of your child support order. Review the self help center information on the Minnesota Fourth Judicial District’s website.

You can find the pro se motion paperwork or make a request for an agency review by visiting Child Support ezDocs.

County review

You also may request that the county review your child support order. The county will determine if your request meets the requirements for a modification.

Please note that a review could result in an increase or decrease in child support.

You may send a written request for a review, describing the reason for the request, to your child support officer. You also may contact your child support officer by phone for more information on the review process.

Cost of living adjustments (COLA)

Most child support orders issued in Minnesota include a requirement that the child support amount be adjusted every two years based on changes in the cost of living. Cost of living adjustments are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This is a standard measure of the inflation rate determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

For more information:

Spousal maintenance

Hennepin County will only provide income-withholding services for spousal maintenance-only cases, upon application. Full enforcement services are only available if a child support obligation also is being enforced.

To seek a spousal maintenance-only order, download the paperwork from MN Courts. The cover letter on the packet will explain how to complete the forms.

Payment and enforcement

Income withholding

Most of the time, support is deducted from a parent's income source. This process is called income withholding.

Income withholding is the process by which court-ordered child support, spousal maintenance, child care, and/or medical support is deducted from income. Employers are required to report all new hires, which helps child support agencies know when income should be withheld.

Receiving your support payment

Once income withholding papers have been sent to an employer, it may take as long as 45 days to receive a payment. Then, the Minnesota Child Support Payment Center distributes the support to the custodial parent.

If the person paying child support is working for cash or is self-employed it is his or her responsibility to send payments, and we will forward payments as we receive them.

Do not send child support payments directly to the custodial parent. If the custodial parent is paid directly, the Child Support Payment Center has no record of the payment. The child support agency will assume that the noncustodial parent is delinquent, and may take enforcement actions to collect the amount that is not accounted for.

Child Support Payment Center

The payment center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Do not send cash. Make the support payments by check or money order, payable to Minnesota Child Support Payment Center.
  • Include your Social Security or participant number so proper credit is received.
  • Keep careful records. Noncustodial parents should keep canceled checks or copies of money orders as receipts. If a difference exists between our records and yours, the noncustodial parent may be required to produce receipts as proof of payment.
  • Send all payments to:
    P.O. Box 64326
    St. Paul, MN 55164

If you receive a direct payment from the other parent, and you receive public assistance:

  • You must contact your Minnesota Family Investment Program worker, child care worker, and/or child support officer immediately. Report the support you received on your household report form. If you live in subsidized housing, you must report your change in income.
  • Sign the payment over to the Minnesota Child Support Payment Center, and include your Social Security number or case number on the payment.

Minnesota Child Support Online

You can make secure electronic child support payments from checking and savings accounts through Minnesota Child Support Online (MCSO). Payments made using MCSO will not replace or stop payments made by income withholding. The online payment option is for parents who wish to make additional payments or who wish to make a payment when income withholding is not available.

In order to make payments through MCSO, you must be a registered user. Information on registering your account can be found on the MCSO participant introduction page.

If child support payments are not made

There are many reasons why child support payments are not made on time. Most often, these reasons are based on the employment situation of the noncustodial parent. As a general rule, if payments are not made, it is because the noncustodial parent is not earning enough income to pay his or her obligations.

If a noncustodial parent does not make the court-ordered payment, the child support office uses enforcement remedies, including:

  • Intercepting federal and state income and property tax refunds and lottery winnings
  • Reporting unpaid balances to credit bureaus
  • Denying passport applications
  • Suspending driver’s and occupational licenses
  • Entering judgments
  • Charging interest
  • Denying student grants
  • Filing for civil contempt
  • Pursuing charges of criminal nonsupport

Medical reimbursement

When the custodial or noncustodial parent requests collection of uninsured and/or nonreimbursed medical or dental costs:

  • The child support officer reviews the file and sends you the required forms. You also can use the link below to access these forms.
  • You will need to complete the forms and submit them to the other party, along with copies of bills, receipts, etc. This includes completing an affidavit of mailing which shows the forms were mailed to the other party.
  • The other party is required to pay the requesting party within 30 days of receiving the forms.
  • If the other party does not pay within the 30 days, the requesting party submits the forms and the affidavit of mailing to our agency.
  • The child support officer will begin the legal process to get reimbursement. During that time, the other party can contest the claim. This process can take several months. The parties do have the option of filing a motion to address these uninsured and/or nonreimbursed medical or dental costs.

More information

Medical reimbursement forms (To access DHS-4931-ENG, you will need to log in, using your user ID and password)

Child care support

If you want to collect child care support, it must be included in your court order. Child care support functions much like basic support, except that the county can end the obligation when the child is no longer in care. In some cases, child care support can be resumed if a child is re-enrolled.

Tracking your child support payments

You can access your account information as needed.

Online: Minnesota Child Support Online

By phone: (Twin Cities Metro) 651-431-4340 or (Greater Minnesota) 800-657-3512

You will need to know your personal ID number (PIN). Call 612-348-6411 to request a new PIN.

Case closure


Child support payments usually continue until the child turns 18, unless otherwise ordered by the court. Support may continue until age 20 if a child is still in high school or is disabled.

If the court order is from a state other than Minnesota, the age of emancipation may vary. Contact your child support officer with questions.

If a child emancipates and the noncustodial parent still owes past-due child support, the child support agency will continue collection on the past-due amount.

Closing your child support case

Hennepin County will close your case when there is no longer an ongoing support obligation and the account is paid in full.

Either the custodial parent or noncustodial parent applicant can request case closure at any time if the following conditions have been met:

  • There are no public assistance arrears owed and you do 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.

You can request to have your case closed by contacting your child support officer by phone or by sending a written request. You may use this document to send a written request for closure: Request to Close Support Case (PDF).

Send your request to:

Hennepin County Child Support Services
MC L890
110 S. 4th St.
Mpls, MN 55401-2280

Across borders

Other states

Hennepin County can help establish paternity and child support orders, and set up child support collection, even when parents of a child live in different states. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) was set up to help child support agencies in different states to establish and enforce child support orders.

If you live outside of Minnesota and need help to get child support from a Minnesota resident, apply for child support services in the county and state where you live.

When more than one state is involved in child support enforcement, it may take longer to process your case. This means that child support collection will take longer than it does when both parents live in the same state.

Learn how to change your child support order, based on the state where you live:

U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement interactive map

Other countries

If one of the parents is a legal resident of a country other than the United States, and we have a cooperative agreement with that country, we can assist with child support collection.

Contact the Office of Citizens Consular Services

United States Department of State
Office of Citizens Consular Services
Washington, D.C. 20520

More information

Minnesota Child Support Online

Child support brochures

Learn about child support in Hennepin County

Hennepin County in 2016

  • 50,000 child support cases
  • 148,000 clients, including almost 67,000 children
  • $74 million in child support collected. Statewide, Minnesota counties collected about $446 million in child support in 2016

About 84 percent of Hennepin’s cases are under a court order. The county has a 71 percent collection rate, which exceeds the national average. Still, the gap in unpaid child support averages more than $2 million per month, a contributing factor to child poverty.

Families in the child support system

Within the Hennepin County system, 41,000 children were born to unmarried parents. Paternity has been established for more than 97 percent of them. In 2016, the county initiated genetic testing for 2,722 clients.

Most of the families—nearly 85 percent—do not receive public assistance. About 56 percent of current child support recipients are former public assistance clients. In many cases, the child support payment (averaging $304 a month per family) helps families maintain self-sufficiency. Among families who are on public assistance, the average child support collected per case is $116 per month.

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