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Can Minnesota seize assets for non-payment of child support?

It takes quite a lot of effort to raise a happy, healthy child after a couple gets divorced. Whether that child is growing up in Ramsey County, Minnesota, or elsewhere, the child needs love, attention, discipline and a ton of support. This includes financial assistance, and that money usually comes in the form of child support from a non-custodial parent. The amount of support is determined by a Minnesota court before a divorce is finalized. But, what happens when a non-custodial parent refuses to honor the financial obligation? Is there any way for a state to force a parent to pay their child support?

Simply put, the answer is yes. The state of Minnesota's Child Support Office can use a tool that is known as financial institution data matching to find and seize the assets of non-custodial parents who are behind on their child support payments. However, before the state proceeds with such an extreme measure, a delinquent parent must meet certain criteria, including owing at least five times the amount of monthly child support and not obeying a court-approved written payment plan.

Once the state's child support office starts this procedure, they will notify the delinquent parent that their bank or other organization will freeze their assets for 45 days. During this time the parent will not be able to withdraw any funds from these accounts. However, any money that they place in these accounts after they have been frozen can be accessed and are not subject to seizure.

Non-custodial parents who have delinquent payments can still challenge the actions of the child support office and petition a court to release funds that have been frozen. And some types of funds are free from this type of action. These include money that can be traced back to either public assistance, income from a minor child or funds from a joint account.

Source: mn.gov, "Levy or seizure of financial assets," April 26, 2015

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