Child Support and Child Custody Resources

The Attorney General’s Office does not have authority over child support or child custody matters, nor can the Office provide legal advice in these types of matters, or review custody or support determinations made by the court.

In an effort to be helpful, the Office provides the following information.

Child Support

The Attorney General’s Office does not have authority over child support matters. Child support collection in Minnesota is administered by the counties and supervised by the state Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS operates a Child Support Policy Help Desk to answer child support questions from citizens. You can reach the Help Desk at (651) 215-1714.

Child Support - Modification

The child support laws in Minnesota take into consideration the income of both parents and the parenting time of each parent. Any party may request a modification of a child support order upon specific showings that make the terms of the current order unreasonable or unfair. For a list of the showings considered by the court, see Minnesota Statutes section 518A.39, subdivision 2, by clicking here.external link icon

If you feel that you might qualify for a modification, you may wish to seek an experienced attorney to advocate for your rights. You can link directly to more information by accessing our Finding an Attorney page by clicking here.

Child Support - Resources

The Minnesota Judicial Branch also maintains an online Self Help Center that addresses common questions about child support. You may access the child support resources offered by the Self Help Center here.external link icon

DHS maintains an online child support calculator. This calculator can help to determine what your responsibilities may be. You can access this by clicking here: DHS Child Support Calculator.external link icon

The Minnesota Legislature’s Research Department published an informative article, entitled "Minnesota’s Child Support Laws: An Overview," outlining specifics in the Minnesota laws relating to child support.

Minnesota child support statutes can be found at the website for the State of Minnesota, Office of the Revisor of Statutes, where you can view other statutes as well. Most of the statutes affecting child support are found at Minnesota Statutes chapter 518A.

Child Custody

The Attorney General’s Office does not have authority to review custody decisions made by a court or to provide legal advice in child custody matters.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch maintains an online Self Help Centerexternal link icon that addresses common questions about child custody.

Minnesota law bases custody evaluations on the best interests of the child. There are several factors that the court considers when determining the best interests of the child. These factors are found in Minnesota Statutes chapter 518.17, subdivision 1.external link icon Either parent may seek a modification of custody if one year has passed since the custody order was issued. In certain circumstances, a parent may seek modification if less than one year has passed. Conditions required for modification are found in Minnesota Statutes chapter 518.18.external link icon Even if a party wishes to modify a custody order, the court will not do so unless a change in circumstances has occurred so that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child.

The general provisions outlining Minnesota law regarding child custody matters are contained within Chapter 518 of the Minnesota Statutes. Additionally, there are a number of other Minnesota Statutes that reference child custody issues. You can access the Minnesota Statutes relevant to child custody by using the Minnesota’s Office of the Revisor’s Document Searchexternal link icon tool and entering "child custody" in the Keyword field.

Child Protection

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, contact your county social service agency or the police. If it is an emergency, call the police at 911. For a listing of local county social services agencies, visit the the Department of Human Services'(“DHS”) Minnesota Tribal and County Directory.external link icon For general questions regarding child protection, you may email the DHS at the following address:

Child protection in Minnesota is administered by the counties and supervised by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (“DHS”). As stated on the DHS child protection website, the purpose of child protection services is to help protect children from physical abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse, and to help families get the services they need to change their behaviors. The program is mandated by law in Minnesota Statutes section 626.566,external link icon the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act.

Finding an Attorney

Finding a Private Attorney:

For information on hiring a lawyer, see our publication entitled "Hiring an Attorney."

Finding a Legal Aid Attorney

Retaining an experienced attorney can put a strain on already limited resources. The Minnesota Legal Services Coalition (MLSC) is an association of seven Minnesota regional legal services programs which help low-income Minnesotans at little or no cost with a broad range of civil legal matters. Click hereexternal link icon to find a legal aid office near you.

Finding an Attorney for a Specific Need:

Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities:
The Minnesota Disability Law Center is a legal aid office that assists individuals with mental and physical health issues. You can reach the MDLC as follows:

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
Minnesota Disability Law Center
430 First Avenue N., Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1780
(612) 334-5970 external link icon

The Children’s Law Center
The Children’s Law Center can sometimes arrange pro bono legal services to represent youth. It can be reached as follows:

Children’s Law Center of Minnesota
450 N. Syndicate St, Suite 315
St. Paul, MN 55104
(651) 644-4438 external link icon

Preparing Your Own Case - Pro Se:

If you decide to move forward with legal action and choose to represent yourself (also known as pro se), the Minnesota Judicial Branch websiteexternal link icon contains information to help educate you on what you’ll need to know before you move forward. This website provides users with a variety of resources, including court forms and other information for pro se litigants that helps them understand different aspects of the judicial branch.