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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Can you be punished for not paying child support?

You and your spouse have reached the end of your divorce and everything is being finalized from child support agreements to separation of shared assets. During this time, you may be given a requirement to pay so much money each month towards the expenses of your children. So, what do you do if you do not want to pay these payments? Are there punishments in Minnesota? The answer is yes. Your decision to be proactive about paying child support and consistently in paying on time will keep you from getting into legal trouble. 

What many people do not realize about refusing to pay child support is that their decision to go against the law can actually result in several inconvenient and frustrating consequences. According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement, authorities can enforce your requirement to make your payments by doing any of the following:

  • Reporting your debts to your credit bureau.
  • Denying your request to get a passport.
  • Suspending or even revoking your privilege to drive. 
  • Putting a lien on your property.
  • Withholding your income or federal tax returns. 
  • Intercepting international payments. 

Becoming a model father

One of the biggest challenges Minnesota fathers face in the aftermath of a custody agreement is making the absolute most of their time with their children. In fact, we find that a custody or visitation dispute serves as an impetus to become the best father possible for many of our clients. Whatever specific incident encourages the change— whether it is the stress of a prolonged divorce or a close call regarding custody— we are happy when our work at Huson Law Firm, PLLC., provides fathers with new motivation to connect with their children.

As you might know, fathers are treated differently in the eyes of the law depending on their legal paternity status. We often find that our clients become more confident in their abilities once they establish legal paternity. We also find that establishing paternity well in advance of a family law dispute often strengthens the father's position.

Does shared parenting time affect child support?

Many states, including Minnesota, are encouraging the idea of shared parenting. It is a different structure from the traditional custody arrangement where one parent has the kids most of the time with the other parent only getting visitations. Shared parenting allows parents to have more time in their children's lives and to parent together. However, such an arrangement may have an effect on child support.

According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, child support is calculated using the incomes of each parent along with the parenting time awarded to each parent. If you have shared parenting, this can make a huge impact on the amount you must pay or that you receive. The basic idea is child support is to be used to pay for the expenses related to raising and caring for your child. If you have the child part of the time in your care, then you should not have to pay support for that time.

Minnesota’s residency requirements for custody hearings

In an age where Americans may frequently change their state residency due to the requirements of their job or if they are seeking a better quality of life, some parents may wonder if they have resided in Minnesota long enough for a Minnesota judge to hear their child custody case. State law addresses this issue, and also lays out certain criteria for a Minnesota judge to hear custody cases in the event a family is divided across state lines.

According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch website, as a general rule, if a person wants to have child custody disputes or other determinations resolved by a Minnesota judge, the child should have been a resident of the state with at least one parent or an individual acting as the child’s parent for at least six consecutive months, or 180 days, before the court process can be started. Sometimes, however, if an emergency arises, a person may still file for custody in a Minnesota court.

How to prepare for the divorce conversation with your child

Going through a divorce can be challenging, especially if you have a child with your soon to be ex-spouse.

While you need to make decisions that benefit you and your finances, you also have to consider the well-being of your child. If you don't, you could find that everyone ends up in a worse position in the near future.

Fathers' rights when it comes to abortion?

Women's rights are talked about very frequently, especially when it comes to abortion in Minnesota. It has been a decades-long discussion about whether abortion is morally right and whether it should be legal. However, the focus is usually contained to the rights of the mother, but does a father have any say when it comes to an abortion? The short answer is no.

The Minnesota Statute regarding abortion and informed consent, as displayed by The Office of the Revisor of Statutes, only mentions fathers one time, but it is not in regards to their rights. It to say a father must provide child support should the mother not get an abortion. 

Can the IRS take your tax refund for child support?

If you pay child support in Minnesota, you understand it is your legal obligation to pay it as ordered by the court. However, many people fall behind in their payments. This often leads to a balance of back child support owed. When tax times rolls around, you may be surprised when your tax refund is much lower than you anticipated due to the IRS taking money to pay your back child support. 

The IRS explains one of the rights of the Bureau of Fiscal Services, which pays the actual refunds, is to take money from your return for child support that is past due. The child support office contacts the BFS to submit a claim for the amount owed. Once this claim is submitted, your refund will be taken to pay it.

Are there ways to make child custody easier on everyone?

One of the biggest issues in many Minnesota divorces is child custody. Dealing with the splitting of a home and having to send children back and forth can be quite stressful. Not to mention the strain it puts on the children and their relationship with their parents. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to share custody with the children's other parent, then it is in everyone's best interest to find ways to make it easier.

Parents notes that making custody work means you and the other parent learn to work together. You have to get along. It is important to not mistake marriage issues for parenting issues. You need to stop seeing the other parent as your ex and start looking at him or her as a co-parent. This also requires stopping all negativity. When you are dealing with the kids, keep things friendly.

How does remarriage affect your child?

It is common for fathers to end up as the non-custodial parent in Minnesota. You get visitation time with your children, but you probably also spend a lot of time alone. It is no surprise that you may start dating and even begin to think about getting remarried. However, a new spouse will change your household dynamic and can negatively impact the relationship you have with your kids. 

HealthyChildren.org notes there are many emotional issues that can come up for children when you decide to get remarried. To help avoid common issues, you should talk with your children about the situation. Explain what may change, and get their input. Encourage complete honesty. Let them know your relationship may change a little, but also let them know that you still value the time you have with them. Make an effort to not let your new marriage overshadow your visitation.

What are some statistics on child support?

If you are new to getting or paying child support in Minnesota, you may wonder about how it works. While the court will set the details and you will go through the state to get or make payments, there is a lot of information out there about how it really works. This includes information on whether you are getting or paying a lot more than other people, how many deadbeat parents there really are and how much money the state is pocketing on every payment made.

The Spruce reported on statistics for child support in the United States based on a 2016 report. Of the 13.4 million single parents in the country who have custody of their children, around 49 percent have a child support agreement, but only about a quarter of those ask for assistance from the government to collect the support due to them. Most of these parents are mothers with only around 31 percent being fathers. 

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