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How Long Do I Have to Pay Child Support in Minnesota?

If two people have a child together who they are not raising in one household, then issues of both child custody and child support must be determined.  Child support in Minnesota is required even if the paying parent has no visitation or doesn’t spend time with the child because it is considered a fundamental right of every child to be supported by both his/her mother and father. If you are paying child support, you need to ensure that you budget for it in your financial planning. This means you need to know how long you can expect to be obligated to pay child support.

How Long Do I Have to Pay Child Support in Minnesota?

When you are ordered to pay child support for your child or children, you generally are required to continue paying the support up until the time when your child reaches the age of 18. This is the time when your child legally becomes an adult.

However, while this is the general rule, there are some exceptions to this rule. The exceptions may be court ordered or you and your spouse may agree on a longer-term arrangement for child support in an out-of-court settlement. Generally, you cannot agree to stop paying child support before a child turns 18 but you can enter into an agreement to pay child support for a longer period of time once a child has become an adult.

There are several situations where it is common for a parent to be obligated to pay child support after a child’s 18th birthday. For example, a parent may be required to pay child support until the child graduates from high school, even if this event does not occur until after the child is 18. A parent can also be ordered to pay ongoing support for a child for longer than the child’s 18th birthday if the child is a special needs child and/or will require ongoing and costly medical care and support after his or her 18th birthday. Sometimes, a couple will also agree that child support payments should continue until after the child has graduated from college if this is determined to be appropriate as part of settlement negotiations.

Once child support has been ordered, the money will typically be taken directly from the paycheck of the paying parent before the paycheck is paid out. Those who are obligated to pay child support must continue to pay for the entire time that their court obligation exists. If you are facing financial problems or a change in circumstance that makes paying child support difficult or impossible as ordered, you cannot just stop paying. Instead, you will need to petition the court to make a change to the existing support agreement. An experienced divorce and family law attorney should be able to assist you in making such a petition or in responding to one if your ex-spouse is seeking to stop support.