Child Support Contempt proceedings

The child support agency can ask the court to find a parent in contempt of court if he or she has the ability to pay the child support obligation, but is intentionally not paying the support obligation. Contempt proceedings for non-payment of support can be used as a tool to enforce a court order for child support.

The court can order the parent to serve a jail sentence if found in contempt. The parent can avoid the jail sentence if the parent meets certain conditions.


The child support agency can pursue a contempt action if all of the following are true. The non-custodial parent:

  • Owes support according to an order or decree for support
  • Owes court-ordered child support or maintenance arrears in an amount at least three times their total monthly support and maintenance obligation
  • Is not complying with a written payment plan approved by the court or the child support agency.
  • Exclusions

    The child support agency will not pursue contempt action if any of the following are true:

  • The case does not meet the criteria
  • There is a court order that prohibits contempt proceedings
  • The parent who owes support is institutionalized, incarcerated, or otherwise incapacitated and unable to pay.
  • Authority

    Minnesota Statutes can be found on the Minnesota Office of the Revisor Web site.

  • Minnesota Statutes, section 518A.72
  • Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 588

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