When a parent fails to make good on child support payments, the negative effects impact not only the children and the other parent but also the entire dynamic of the post-divorce relationship. In some cases, the delinquent parent simply cannot afford to pay. In other cases, the parent deliberately refuses out of a belief that the arrangement isn’t fair. Finally, the parent may be a victim of bad luck. For instance, he loses his job or gets demoted when his company eliminates his position, and he no longer can make child support payments without an income stream. However, his obligation to pay won’t necessarily stop, and the child support debt can continue to mount.

When delinquency becomes chronic, consequences ensue.

An Unfair Burden on the Poorest Parents?

Not surprisingly, the lowest paid earners bear the heaviest child support burden and owe the most in back payments.

Republicans and Democrats alike agree that the federal system needs an overhaul and that payments should stop for those in prison across the nation. While conservatives in general want checks in place to prevent parents from taking advantage of this system, liberals in general prefer broader parameters, so that disadvantaged parents can climb out of what can become the bottomless pit of child support.

Stopping Child Support During Incarceration

If you are arrested and owe child support, your county child support worker might be able to assist you. Minnesota laws state that you can request child support to be reduced or stopped while you are in custody. However, the courts do not automatically stop child support. Instead, you will need to take the following steps:

1.    Submit a letter to the child support office, asking for a review of your case. Include your reason for the letter.
2.    Personnel at the agency will decide whether your case meets the criteria for modifications. They will notify the parent with an approval or a denial.
3.    If the request is denied, the parent can submit a motion directly to the court, asking for a modification of the order.

After you are released from custody, the court will again review your financial situation and establish a new order. It will consider your employment status in addition to your efforts to obtain employment.

If you’re a parent owed child support from a delinquent ex, you also have rights and options to seek fair compensation, so you can provide for yourself and your children.

Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.

Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper