ENFORCING SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE AND CHILD SUPPORT FROM ANOTHER STATE

Posted on Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 by Tim Simonson and is filed under Courts,  Divorce,  Minnesota,  Spousal Maintenance.
Minnesota courts recognize that not all Minnesota divorced residents became divorced by a Minnesota court.  Many people who move to this State, became divorced by the courts of another State, and, are bound by the terms of that State court’s Order.
 
So how does this affect somebody who needs help enforcing their out-of-state Order? Do they have to go back to that State? No, they don’t have to. People living in Minnesota with an Order from another State, still have the right to seek the help of a Minnesota court for unpaid child support or spousal maintenance. 
 
It’s the job of the Minnesota court to figure out which laws to follow when enforcing a child support or spousal maintenance Order. For example, if a Minnesota resident is owed child support or spousal maintenance based on an Order from another state, can they come to a Minnesota court and ask for help getting their child support or spousal maintenance collected? The answer is ‘yes’.
 
This recently came up in a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision,  Gomes v. Meyer, and County of Clay, in which the Minnesota courts agreed that the out of state Order, and the laws of that State which applied to the Order, ought to be enforced in Minnesota as they would in that other State. 
 
In so doing, the Minnesota court followed exactly what Minnesota lawmakers asked of it, when they enacted Minnesota statute section 518C.604(a)(2), which applies to out of state child support and spousal maintenance orders, and what to do when that order isn’t being paid.  The law says that  “the computation and payment of arrearages and accrual of interest on the arrearages under [a] support order” are governed by “the law of the issuing state.”  This means that a Minnesota court has to give full faith and credit to the laws of the other State, not Minnesota law, when it comes to figuring out how to enforce an out of state child support or spousal maintenance order that is not being paid.  
This is not to say that Minnesota is without its own remedies when support or maintenance is not being paid.  In Minnesota, unpaid maintenance or child support can be reduced to judgment and interest on unpaid amounts.  The interest rate for unpaid maintenance awards, as determined by Minnesota Statute section 548.091, sub. 1 allows interest on an unpaid child support or spousal maintenance judgment at a rate set annually by the State Court Administrator in accordance with Minnesota Statute, section 549.09. For 2018 that amount is 4% or 10% for judgments over $50,000.00.
Regardless of where a spousal maintenance or child support obligation is issued, it is the role of Minnesota courts to ensure the orders are being honored, or otherwise subject to judgments and interest on unpaid amounts.

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If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.