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What happens to child support if a parent becomes disabled

Many Minnesota parents who have custody of their children rely on child support to make ends meet. However, the other parent could potentially become disabled, making it more difficult for them to make the child support payments that they owe. If a custodial parent suddenly finds that the other parent has become disabled, there are several questions that need to be addressed.

First, custodial parents should determine if the disabled parent has disability insurance. If the disabled parent does receive disability insurance benefits, then the custodial parent should expect that the noncustodial parent will continue to pay child support. However, custodial parents should be aware that the disability payments will likely be less than the income the noncustodial parent was earning, so child support payments could potentially be impacted if the parent requests a modification to the child support order.

Second, custodial parents should determine if the disability is temporary or permanent. If the disability is temporary, the court may modify the child support order only for the length of time during which the noncustodial parent is considered disabled. If the disability is permanent, the child support order could be permanently modified to reflect the noncustodial parent's new financial situation.

If a custodial parent is having trouble getting a disabled noncustodial parent to pay the child support that they owe, a family law attorney may assist with finding a solution. If the disabled parent has disability insurance, for example, the attorney may ask the court to garnish the parent's disability payments. If there is evidence that the disabled parent does still have the ability to pay, the attorney may ask the court to enforce the child support order through either a seizure of the parent's tax refund or through wage garnishments.

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