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Death and Child Support

navigating parental death and continuing child support

Death and Child Support

January 12, 2024

By Johnson/Turner Legal

Death and Child Support

January 12, 2024

By Johnson/Turner Legal

Understanding Child Support Continuation After a Parent’s Death in Minnesota

Child Support Orders in Shared Custody Cases

When a marriage or relationship with shared children ends, courts typically issue child support orders. Generally, the parent with less parenting time pays child support. This obligation usually continues until the child turns eighteen or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later, but sometimes it extends beyond this period. However, complexities arise if the paying parent passes away before the child reaches the age of majority.

Life Insurance as a Solution for Continuing Child Support

To address such situations, courts often require both parents, especially the one paying child support, to maintain life insurance policies benefiting the child. Life insurance proceeds bypass probate and are directly payable to the named beneficiary. If the surviving parent is the beneficiary, this arrangement significantly expedites their access to financial support.

Social Security Benefits for Surviving Children

Another financial safeguard for the surviving parent involves Social Security. If the deceased parent had sufficient work history, their child might be eligible for survivor’s benefits. The surviving parent needs to apply on behalf of the child, who can receive up to 75% of the deceased parent’s retirement benefits. These benefits continue until the child turns 18 or longer in cases of students or disabled children.

Minnesota’s Approach to Child Support After Parental Death

Under Minnesota law, a parent’s death doesn’t immediately nullify their child support obligation, barring a prior written agreement. When the paying parent dies, the court may modify or terminate the support, but often it orders a lump-sum payment from the deceased parent’s estate. This estate can include various assets, from bank accounts to real estate and retirement accounts, ensuring the child receives support despite the paying parent’s death.

Seek Legal Guidance for Child Support After Parental Death

Navigating child support issues following the death of a parent can be challenging. At Johnson/Turner Legal, we’re here to help you understand and manage your child support situation after such an event. Contact us at (651) 661-2626 for a consultation about your child support needs following the other parent’s death.


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