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Most grandparents view the opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren as a major gift. When those children rely on grandparents with limited income for primary support, however, our Minneapolis child support attorneys often recommend that they can — and should — seek child support payments.

Certain Rules Govern the Ability for Grandparents to Get Child Support

Grandparents should not necessarily expect child support when they regularly care for the grandchildren while their parents are at work. However, when they essentially take over the parenting responsibilities for their grandchildren and pay the bills, child support may be legally justified.

This can happen in many circumstances, such as when the biological parents are very young or when they display the inability to care for their own children for other reasons ranging from disinterest to substance abuse or even incarceration.

As explained in a helpful brochure published by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Minnesota law permits grandparents to receive child support payments when all of the following criteria are met:

  • Grandparents have court-ordered custody of their minor grandchildren
  • The minor grandchildren live in the grandparents’ household
  • The minor grandchildren depend on the grandparents for financial support
  • One or both parents are absent from the home
  • The court has ordered someone to pay child support

Raising Children Adds Significant Expenses to the Average Household

It may be natural for grandparents to willingly take on the additional expenses needed to bring the grandchildren into their home. However, many people do not realize that the average middle-income family in the urban Midwest spends between $10,000 and $15,000 each year just to pay for the basics, which include housing and transportation, child care or education, healthcare, clothing, food and miscellaneous expenditures. In fact, even lower income families can expect the costs to approach $10,000 annually. These expenses amount to about $240,000 or $174,000, respectively, over a potential 18 years of child care.

Particularly for older individuals, expenses like these can have a profound effect on a couple’s ability to retire or even make ends meet while caring for a dependent child. Parents continue to have the responsibility to provide financial support for their children, regardless of where those children reside.

Our Minnesota child support attorneys are dedicated to helping grandparents pursue the financial support they need and deserve when they provide a permanent home for their grandchildren. We can also provide guidance on pursuing state-provided child support services that may be available from the state. Call us at (763) 783-5146 or use our convenient contact form to learn how we can help.