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Cost of living adjustments and child support modification in MN

Given the manner in which changes inevitably occur, a child support order is not going to be static. With that in mind, Minnesota has certain laws that will regulate how the amount owed changes at various intervals. Whether a parent can seek to have child support modifications can be made as different needs arise. Understanding the parameters of these changes can avoid confusion and help both parents, as well as the child.

The cost of living adjustment (COLA) is a method for the amount owed to change. On a biennial basis, the COLA is compounded.

For cases that are categorized as IV-D, this will go into effect on May 1, every other year after the order is entered or it is added to an order that is already in place. Non IV-D cases can have the COLA changed any month, as long as it has been a minimum of two years since the previous COLA.

The state can use the indicators for COLA increases that the U.S. Department of Labor publishes. After that, the paying parent will have 20 days prior to the change in COLA. It is possible to have a hearing in opposition to the COLA, if the paying parent does not have the income to abide by it.

Child support modification is another way to change the payment amount. Any party involved is able to ask for a review to determine if there should be a modification. The decision will hinge on the following: if there was a substantial increase or decrease in the paying parent or the receiving parent's gross income; if there was a substantial increase or decrease in the needs of either parent or the child; if a parent is receiving public assistance; if there was a change in cost of living for either; if the child has extraordinary medical expenses; if there has been a change in appropriate health care coverage being available to the child or a rise or lowering of costs for health care; if there was an increase or decrease in costs for child care; and if the child was emancipated.

There are many issues that can arise leading to a legal disagreement as to the COLA or at attempt to modify the payments. In other instances, a change to the support agreement is needed for one reason or another. Regardless of the situation, parents have to be cognizant of child support calculations, COLA and modifications. When there is an issue from any perspective, speaking to a legal professional experienced in child support cases can be helpful.

Source: State.Mn.US, "Minnesota's Child Support Laws: An Overview -- Can the support amount change? pages 10-11," accessed on March 15, 2016

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