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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 158-S.F.No. 1944 
                  An act relating to support; clarifying and modifying 
                  the crime of nonsupport of a spouse or child; 
                  providing notice of criminal penalties for nonsupport 
                  of a spouse or child; specifying spousal liability for 
                  medical necessities; imposing criminal penalties; 
                  crediting child support payments to public authority; 
                  authorizing collection of child support in arrears 
                  under revenue recapture act under certain 
                  circumstances; amending Minnesota Statutes 2000, 
                  sections 518.551, subdivision 1; 518.6111, by adding a 
                  subdivision; 518.68, subdivision 2; 519.05; 609.095; 
                  609.375, subdivisions 1, 2, 2a, by adding 
                  subdivisions; proposing coding for new law in 
                  Minnesota Statutes, chapters 518; 609. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 518.551, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [SCOPE; PAYMENT TO PUBLIC AGENCY.] (a) This 
        section applies to all proceedings involving a support order, 
        including, but not limited to, a support order establishing an 
        order for past support or reimbursement of public assistance. 
           (b) The court shall direct that all payments ordered for 
        maintenance and support be made to the public agency responsible 
        for child support enforcement so long as the obligee is 
        receiving or has applied for public assistance, or has applied 
        for child support and maintenance collection services.  Public 
        authorities responsible for child support enforcement may act on 
        behalf of other public authorities responsible for child support 
        enforcement.  This includes the authority to represent the legal 
        interests of or execute documents on behalf of the other public 
        authority in connection with the establishment, enforcement, and 
        collection of child support, maintenance, or medical support, 
        and collection on judgments. 
           (c) Payments made to the public authority other than 
        payments under section 518.6111 must be credited as of the date 
        the payment is received by the central collections unit.  
           (d) Amounts received by the public agency responsible for 
        child support enforcement greater than the amount granted to the 
        obligee shall be remitted to the obligee. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 518.6111, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 19.  [TIMING OF AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT REMEDIES.] The 
        public authority shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that 
        automated enforcement remedies take into consideration the time 
        periods allowed under this section. 
           Sec. 3.  [518.6196] [COLLECTION; REVENUE RECAPTURE.] 
           The public authority may submit debt under chapter 270A 
        only if the obligor is in arrears in court-ordered child support 
        or maintenance payments, or both, in an amount greater than the 
        obligor's total monthly support and maintenance payments or if 
        the debt has been entered and docketed as a judgment under 
        section 548.091, subdivision 2a. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 518.68, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [CONTENTS.] The required notices must be 
        substantially as follows: 
                                IMPORTANT NOTICE 
        1.  PAYMENTS TO PUBLIC AGENCY 
           According to Minnesota Statutes, section 518.551, 
           subdivision 1, payments ordered for maintenance and support 
           must be paid to the public agency responsible for child 
           support enforcement as long as the person entitled to 
           receive the payments is receiving or has applied for public 
           assistance or has applied for support and maintenance 
           collection services.  MAIL PAYMENTS TO: 
        2.  DEPRIVING ANOTHER OF CUSTODIAL OR PARENTAL RIGHTS -- A 
        FELONY 
           A person may be charged with a felony who conceals a minor 
           child or takes, obtains, retains, or fails to return a 
           minor child from or to the child's parent (or person with 
           custodial or visitation rights), according to Minnesota 
           Statutes, section 609.26.  A copy of that section is 
           available from any district court clerk. 
        3.  NONSUPPORT OF A SPOUSE OR CHILD -- CRIMINAL PENALTIES 
           A person who fails to pay court-ordered child support or 
           maintenance may be charged with a crime, which may include 
           misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony charges, 
           according to Minnesota Statutes, section 609.375.  A copy 
           of that section is available from any district court clerk. 
        3. 4.  RULES OF SUPPORT, MAINTENANCE, PARENTING TIME 
           (a) Payment of support or spousal maintenance is to be as 
           ordered, and the giving of gifts or making purchases of 
           food, clothing, and the like will not fulfill the 
           obligation. 
           (b) Payment of support must be made as it becomes due, and 
           failure to secure or denial of parenting time is NOT an 
           excuse for nonpayment, but the aggrieved party must seek 
           relief through a proper motion filed with the court. 
           (c) Nonpayment of support is not grounds to deny parenting 
           time.  The party entitled to receive support may apply for 
           support and collection services, file a contempt motion, or 
           obtain a judgment as provided in Minnesota Statutes, 
           section 548.091.  
           (d) The payment of support or spousal maintenance takes 
           priority over payment of debts and other obligations. 
           (e) A party who accepts additional obligations of support 
           does so with the full knowledge of the party's prior 
           obligation under this proceeding. 
           (f) Child support or maintenance is based on annual income, 
           and it is the responsibility of a person with seasonal 
           employment to budget income so that payments are made 
           throughout the year as ordered. 
           (g) If the obligor is laid off from employment or receives 
           a pay reduction, support may be reduced, but only if a 
           motion to reduce the support is served and filed with the 
           court.  Any reduction will take effect only if ordered by 
           the court and may only relate back to the time that the 
           motion is filed.  If a motion is not filed, the support 
           obligation will continue at the current level.  The court 
           is not permitted to reduce support retroactively, except as 
           provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 518.64, subdivision 
           2, paragraph (c).  
           (h) Reasonable parenting time guidelines are contained in 
           Appendix B, which is available from the court administrator.
           (i) The nonpayment of support may be enforced through the 
           denial of student grants; interception of state and federal 
           tax refunds; suspension of driver's, recreational, and 
           occupational licenses; referral to the department of 
           revenue or private collection agencies; seizure of assets, 
           including bank accounts and other assets held by financial 
           institutions; reporting to credit bureaus; interest 
           charging, income withholding, and contempt proceedings; and 
           other enforcement methods allowed by law.  
        4. 5.  PARENTAL RIGHTS FROM MINNESOTA STATUTES, SECTION 518.17, 
        SUBDIVISION 3 
           Unless otherwise provided by the Court: 
           (a) Each party has the right of access to, and to receive 
           copies of, school, medical, dental, religious training, and 
           other important records and information about the minor 
           children.  Each party has the right of access to 
           information regarding health or dental insurance available 
           to the minor children.  Presentation of a copy of this 
           order to the custodian of a record or other information 
           about the minor children constitutes sufficient 
           authorization for the release of the record or information 
           to the requesting party. 
           (b) Each party shall keep the other informed as to the name 
           and address of the school of attendance of the minor 
           children.  Each party has the right to be informed by 
           school officials about the children's welfare, educational 
           progress and status, and to attend school and parent 
           teacher conferences.  The school is not required to hold a 
           separate conference for each party. 
           (c) In case of an accident or serious illness of a minor 
           child, each party shall notify the other party of the 
           accident or illness, and the name of the health care 
           provider and the place of treatment. 
           (d) Each party has the right of reasonable access and 
           telephone contact with the minor children. 
        5. 6.  WAGE AND INCOME DEDUCTION OF SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE 
           Child support and/or spousal maintenance may be withheld 
           from income, with or without notice to the person obligated 
           to pay, when the conditions of Minnesota Statutes, section 
           518.6111 have been met.  A copy of those sections is 
           available from any district court clerk. 
        6. 7.  CHANGE OF ADDRESS OR RESIDENCE 
           Unless otherwise ordered, each party shall notify the other 
           party, the court, and the public authority responsible for 
           collection, if applicable, of the following information 
           within ten days of any change:  the residential and mailing 
           address, telephone number, driver's license number, social 
           security number, and name, address, and telephone number of 
           the employer. 
        7. 8.  COST OF LIVING INCREASE OF SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE 
           Child support and/or spousal maintenance may be adjusted 
           every two years based upon a change in the cost of living 
           (using Department of Labor Consumer Price Index .........., 
           unless otherwise specified in this order) when the 
           conditions of Minnesota Statutes, section 518.641, are met. 
           Cost of living increases are compounded.  A copy of 
           Minnesota Statutes, section 518.641, and forms necessary to 
           request or contest a cost of living increase are available 
           from any district court clerk. 
        8. 9.  JUDGMENTS FOR UNPAID SUPPORT 
           If a person fails to make a child support payment, the 
           payment owed becomes a judgment against the person 
           responsible to make the payment by operation of law on or 
           after the date the payment is due, and the person entitled 
           to receive the payment or the public agency may obtain 
           entry and docketing of the judgment WITHOUT NOTICE to the 
           person responsible to make the payment under Minnesota 
           Statutes, section 548.091.  Interest begins to accrue on a 
           payment or installment of child support whenever the unpaid 
           amount due is greater than the current support due, 
           according to Minnesota Statutes, section 548.091, 
           subdivision 1a.  
        9. 10.  JUDGMENTS FOR UNPAID MAINTENANCE 
           A judgment for unpaid spousal maintenance may be entered 
           when the conditions of Minnesota Statutes, section 548.091, 
           are met.  A copy of that section is available from any 
           district court clerk. 
        10. 11.  ATTORNEY FEES AND COLLECTION COSTS FOR ENFORCEMENT OF 
        CHILD SUPPORT 
           A judgment for attorney fees and other collection costs 
           incurred in enforcing a child support order will be entered 
           against the person responsible to pay support when the 
           conditions of section 518.14, subdivision 2, are met.  A 
           copy of section 518.14 and forms necessary to request or 
           contest these attorney fees and collection costs are 
           available from any district court clerk. 
        11. 12.  PARENTING TIME EXPEDITOR PROCESS 
           On request of either party or on its own motion, the court 
           may appoint a parenting time expeditor to resolve parenting 
           time disputes under Minnesota Statutes, section 518.1751.  
           A copy of that section and a description of the expeditor 
           process is available from any district court clerk. 
        12. 13.  PARENTING TIME REMEDIES AND PENALTIES 
           Remedies and penalties for the wrongful denial of parenting 
           time are available under Minnesota Statutes, section 
           518.175, subdivision 6.  These include compensatory 
           parenting time; civil penalties; bond requirements; 
           contempt; and reversal of custody.  A copy of that 
           subdivision and forms for requesting relief are available 
           from any district court clerk. 
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 519.05, is 
        amended to read: 
           519.05 [LIABILITY OF HUSBAND AND WIFE.] 
           (a) A spouse is not liable to a creditor for any debts of 
        the other spouse.  Where husband and wife are living together, 
        they shall be jointly and severally liable for all necessary 
        medical services that have been furnished to either spouse, and 
        necessary household articles and supplies furnished to and used 
        by the family.  Notwithstanding this paragraph, in a proceeding 
        under chapter 518 the court may apportion such debt between the 
        spouses. 
           (b) Either spouse may close a credit card account or other 
        unsecured consumer line of credit on which both spouses are 
        contractually liable, by giving written notice to the creditor. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 609.095, is 
        amended to read: 
           609.095 [LIMITS OF SENTENCES.] 
           (a) The legislature has the exclusive authority to define 
        crimes and offenses and the range of the sentences or 
        punishments for their violation.  No other or different sentence 
        or punishment shall be imposed for the commission of a crime 
        than is authorized by this chapter or other applicable law.  
           (b) Except as provided in section 152.18 or 609.375, or 
        upon agreement of the parties, a court may not refuse to 
        adjudicate the guilt of a defendant who tenders a guilty plea in 
        accordance with Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, rule 15, 
        or who has been found guilty by a court or jury following a 
        trial. 
           (c) Paragraph (b) does not supersede Minnesota Rules of 
        Criminal Procedure, rule 26.04. 
           Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 609.375, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [CRIME DEFINED.] Whoever is legally 
        obligated to provide care and support to a spouse or child, 
        whether or not its the child's custody has been granted to 
        another, and knowingly omits and fails without lawful excuse to 
        do so is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction may be 
        sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 90 days or to 
        payment of a fine of not more than $700, or both. 
           Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 609.375, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [GROSS MISDEMEANOR VIOLATION.] If the violation 
        of subdivision 1 continues for a period in excess of 90 days but 
        not more than 180 days, the A person who violates subdivision 1 
        is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to 
        imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine 
        of not more than $3,000, or both, if: 
           (1) the violation continues for a period in excess of 90 
        days but not more than 180 days; or 
           (2) the person is in arrears in court-ordered child support 
        or maintenance payments, or both, in an amount equal to or 
        greater than six times but less than nine times the person's 
        total monthly support and maintenance payments. 
           Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 609.375, 
        subdivision 2a, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2a.  [FELONY VIOLATION.] If the violation of 
        subdivision 1 continues for a period in excess of 180 days, the 
        A person who violates subdivision 1 is guilty of a felony and 
        upon conviction may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more 
        than two years or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, 
        or both, if: 
           (1) the violation continues for a period in excess of 180 
        days; or 
           (2) the person is in arrears in court-ordered child support 
        or maintenance payments, or both, in an amount equal to or 
        greater than nine times the person's total monthly support and 
        maintenance payments. 
           Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 609.375, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 2b.  [ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN CONTEMPT ORDER AS 
        PREREQUISITE TO PROSECUTION.] A person may not be charged with 
        violating this section unless there has been an attempt to 
        obtain a court order holding the person in contempt for failing 
        to pay support or maintenance under chapter 518.  This 
        requirement is satisfied by a showing that reasonable attempts 
        have been made at service of the order. 
           Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 609.375, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 8.  [DEFENSE.] It is an affirmative defense to 
        criminal liability under this section if the defendant proves by 
        a preponderance of the evidence that the omission and failure to 
        provide care and support were with lawful excuse. 
           Sec. 12.  [609.3751] [DISCHARGE AND DISMISSAL.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [APPLICABILITY.] A person is eligible for a 
        discharge and dismissal under this section, if the person: 
           (1) has not been previously convicted of a felony under the 
        laws of this state or elsewhere; 
           (2) has not been previously convicted of a violation of 
        section 609.375 or of a similar offense in this state or 
        elsewhere; 
           (3) has not previously participated in or completed a 
        diversion program relating to a charge of violating section 
        609.375; and 
           (4) has not previously been placed on probation without a 
        judgment of guilty for violation of section 609.375.  
           Subd. 2.  [PROCEDURE.] For a person eligible under 
        subdivision 1 who is charged with violating section 609.375, the 
        court may after trial or upon a plea of guilty, without entering 
        a judgment of guilty and with the consent of the person, defer 
        further proceedings and place the person on probation upon such 
        reasonable conditions as it may require and for a period not to 
        exceed the maximum sentence provided for the violation.  At a 
        minimum, the conditions must require the defendant to: 
           (1) provide the public authority responsible for child 
        support enforcement with an affidavit attesting to the 
        defendant's present address, occupation, employer, current 
        income, assets, and account information, as defined in section 
        13B.06; and 
           (2) execute a written payment agreement regarding both 
        current support and arrearages that is approved by the court.  
           In determining whether to approve a payment agreement under 
        clause (2), the court shall apply the provisions of chapter 518 
        consistent with the obligor's ability to pay. 
           Subd. 3.  [VIOLATION.] Upon violation of a condition of the 
        probation, including a failure to comply with the written 
        payment agreement approved by the court under subdivision 2, 
        clause (2), the court may enter an adjudication of guilt and 
        proceed as otherwise provided in law. 
           Subd. 4.  [EARLY DISMISSAL.] The court may, in its 
        discretion, dismiss the proceedings against the person and 
        discharge the person from probation before the expiration of the 
        maximum period prescribed for the person's probation but may do 
        so only if the full amount of any arrearages has been brought 
        current. 
           Subd. 5.  [DISMISSAL; RECORD.] (a) For purposes of this 
        subdivision, "not public" has the meaning given in section 
        13.02, subdivision 8a. 
           (b) If during the period of probation the person does not 
        violate any of the conditions of the probation, then upon 
        expiration of the period the court shall discharge the person 
        and dismiss the proceedings against that person.  Discharge and 
        dismissal under this subdivision shall be without court 
        adjudication of guilt, but a not public record of it shall be 
        retained by the bureau of criminal apprehension for the purpose 
        of use by the courts in determining the merits of subsequent 
        proceedings against the person.  The not public record may also 
        be opened only upon court order for purposes of a criminal 
        investigation, prosecution, or sentencing.  Upon request by law 
        enforcement, prosecution, or corrections authorities, the bureau 
        shall notify the requesting party of the existence of the not 
        public record and the right to seek a court order to open it 
        pursuant to this section.  The court shall forward a record of 
        any discharge and dismissal under this section to the bureau 
        which shall make and maintain the not public record of it as 
        provided under this section.  The discharge or dismissal shall 
        not be deemed a conviction for purposes of disqualifications or 
        disabilities imposed by law upon conviction of a crime or for 
        any other purpose. 
           Sec. 13.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           Sections 6 to 12 are effective August 1, 2001, and apply to 
        all crimes committed on or after that date. 
           Presented to the governor May 18, 2001 
           Signed by the governor May 22, 2001, 10:22 a.m.