Getting a Support Order

Key Notes

  • Only the court can order support payments
  • Child support includes basic support, medical support, and childcare support

A child support court order makes a parent legally responsible to provide child support for his or her child. This can only take place after the parent has been legally determined to be the parent and paternity is established.

  • Child support in Minnesota is calculated using guidelines established in state law.
  • The Minnesota Legislature passed new child support laws in June 2005.

These changes in establishing child support are effective January 1, 2007.


Starting January 1, 2007, the Minnesota child support guidelines for calculating child support is a formula using both parents gross income to determine each parent's share of the cost of raising a child. The change applies to actions filed with the court after January 1, 2007.

In addition to the "income shares formula" for calculating child support, the new law:

  • gives the courts more direction on which parent should carry the health care coverage
  • may give credit for court ordered percentages of time a parent spends with the child
  • directs courts to take family situations into account by giving a deduction for children living in the home and not covered under the court order.

The State of Minnesota has an online Guidelines Calculator to help you estimate the amount of child support that the court may order on a case. For more information on the statute changes go to Minnesota Statutes.

How Can I Get a Court Order?

Child support is established in a court order by bringing a court action. This could be part of a divorce, legal separation, paternity, domestic abuse, or child support court action.

What Does a Child Support Court Order Include?

Basic support -the court will determine the amount of financial support to be paid by looking at the income of each parent, and applying the combined incomes to a support formula found in Minnesota Statutes.

Medical support-the court may order a parent to provide health and dental insurance for children or make a payment toward the cost of insurance coverage. The court may also decide who will pay for uninsured medical expenses.

Childcare support-the court may order a parent to pay all or part of, work or school-related childcare (daycare) expenses.

If public assistance has been expended through cash (MFIP), medical assistance, Minnesota care, or childcare expense, the county may ask the court for an order to pay back public assistance.

For more information on child support calculation and establishing a court order go to the state of Minnesota website

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