Minnesota Child Support Collections and Fees
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UPDATED: Apr 10, 2011
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A noncustodial parent who is assigned an order for Minnesota child support collection should be aware that any form of income is subject to wage garnishment. This includes large lump-sum payments, which must be reported to the Minnesota office of child support. Further, because Minnesota wage garnishment law legally binds the employer to enforce the order, the law also allows for the employer to collect a small administrative fee from the noncustodial parent’s wages.
Income Subject to Withholding for Child Support Garnishment
Income in Minnesota is defined as any periodic payment made to an individual. This includes, but is not limited to, wages, salaries, commissions, self-employment income, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, annuity, military retirement pay, pension payment, and disability payments. All of these forms of income are subject to wage garnishment in Minnesota for purposes of child support collection. However, some income is exempted by maximum garnishment limits.
Bonuses and Other Lump Sum Payments
Minnesota requires that employers report any lump-sum payments of $500 or more owed to an employee subject to a support order. These should be reported to the agency before the payment is actually made. Examples of lump-sum payments in Minnesota include bonuses, commissions, sick pay, vacation pay, and severance pay. If the employer does not hear back from the agency within thirty days of reporting the payment, then the payment may be given to the employee in full without garnishment. For more information, and to report payment, contact:
MN CSED Help Desk
444 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155-3846
Phone: (651) 215-1717; (800) 657-3890
Termination of Employment
When a noncustodial parent’s period of employment ends, the employer should immediately notify the agency that issued the support order. As the employer is bound by law to garnish the employee’s wages, promptly notifying the issuing agency allows the employer to clear its obligation to enforce the support order. The employer should send a copy of the order to the issuing agency with the company name, the employee’s name and address, the date of termination of employment, and the new employer’s name and address, if known. The employer should follow the same process if the employee retires, but instead of listing the new employer information, they should list the contact information for the retired employee’s pension plan administrator.
Remitting payment for a support order can cost the employer extra time and money. Minnesota allows the employer to charge a small fee for these administrative costs: up to $1 per payment remitted. This fee must come out of the employee’s wages and not the support payment. The employer should also remember that the total fee and payment deducted from the employee’s wages must not exceed the maximum withholding limits.
Penalty for Noncompliance
If an employer fails to enforce an order for support, they may be subject to civil suits and fines. The agency or the employee may bring an action against the employer for noncompliance with the order. The employer will be held responsible for any amount that was not deducted or remitted to the agency, with interest, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. Further, the court may hold the employer in contempt, order them to pay the employee double compensatory damages, and impose a minimum fine of $500.
Minnesota State Office of Child Support – Contact Information
Department of Human Services
Child Support Enforcement Division
444 Lafayette Rd. North
St. Paul, MN 55155-3846
Phone: (651) 296-2542; (800) 657-3890
Fax: (651) 297-4450