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Minnesota child support ruling raises questions for lawmakers

While some cases of divorce can be dealt with sans struggle, others can become much more dramatic affairs. This is especially true when child support is involved after a divorce has been finalized. As a recent Minnesota child support case shows, the legal struggle can sometimes unfortunately extend for years. However, despite the longevity of the case at hand, it is causing lawmakers to reexamine some elements of child support in Minnesota.

The situation centers on a Rochester man who had not paid child support for 11 years, totaling $83,470. While the man was convicted for a felony three years ago because he did not provide "care and support" for his children, the court ruled that the terminology of the law was too vague and does not necessarily only mean monetary support. The man was ultimately not punished.

The ruling is making some legislators in Minnesota reexamine the state's child support system. Although the law could be investigated this spring, possibly bringing in more precise guidelines so that future offenders are not allowed the same leniency, lawmakers say that it is a complicated and difficult issue to correct in a short time.

As the child support laws are possibly retooled in the near future, it is still important to be aware of all of the options in a child support case. With proper legal guidance from an experienced attorney, a party seeking child support can more accurately judge compensation for elements such as education, maintaining a standard of living, everyday expenses and more.

Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "Court ruling hobbles prosecution for unpaid child support," Abby Simons, Feb. 12, 2014

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