Child Support


Children can depend on their parents for the support they need.


To promote the well-being of children and the self-sufficiency of families by delivering quality child support services.


Child Support services are offered through Minnesota counties. Either parent, with or without custody of their children, may receive these services.

Families receiving MFIP, Medical Assistance, and Child Care Assistance must cooperate with child support efforts to continue receiving benefits. County Child Support offices use a variety of tools to set and collect support.

  1. Services
  2. Collections/Enforcement
  • Establish parentage
  • Establishing and enforcing orders which can include medical support and child care support
  • Locating non-custodial parents
  • Collecting current and past due support

Benefits to the Child of Legal Paternity

Establishing paternity for a child will entitle the child to a number of legally recognized rights including:

  1. access to important genetic and medical information.
  2. entitlement to child support.
  3. potential eligibility for Social Security Benefits.
  4. potential eligibility for veterans’ benefits.
  5. possibility to inherit from his/her father.
  6. potential eligibility for Worker's Compensation dependent allowances.
  7. potential eligibility for dependent family benefits under group and individual health insurance coverage.

Establishment of Paternity

If the biological parents of a child do not marry at anytime prior to the conception or birth of the child, paternity may be established in either of the following ways:

1. The biological parents may declare and acknowledge in writing and under oath, to be the parents of the child. This declaration must be signed by both parents before a notary public. The Recognition of Parentage (DHS-3159), when executed, will establish the parentage of a child for purposes of medical insurance, social security, workers' compensation, and veterans benefits. It will entitle the child to inherit. It will serve as notice that the father intends to retain parental rights important in adoption or termination proceedings. The Recognitioof rentage creates a presumption of paternity for purposes of an adjudication of paternity.

2. Adjudication of Paternity. Referrals can be made to Child Support Enforcement Units for an adjudication of paternity. An adjudication is the process by which a court determines the biological and legal father of a minor child whose parents were not married. An adjudication of paternity, in addition to obtaining all of the benefits of a Recognition of Parentage, establishes child support orders, custody and visitation rights. An adjudication is also the method by which paternity can be established when paternity is contested. It provides legal safeguards to all parties involved.

Initiation of a Court Action to Determine Paternity 

A court action to determine paternity (an adjudication of paternity) may be brought at any time by:

1. The child, or a personal representative of the child;

2. The mother;

3. The public authority charged by law with the support of the child;

4. The personal representative or a parent of the mother or father if either has died, or is a minor; or

5. A man alleging himself to be the father.


The district court has jurisdiction of an action brought under the Parentage Act. The action may be brought in the county in which the child or the alleged father resides or is found.

Right to Counsel 

Any party may be represented by counsel in an adjudication of paternity. The county attorney will represent the public authority. The court will appoint counsel for a party not able to afford an attorney. The court may, however, order a party to pay appropriate court costs in accordance with the party’s ability to pay.