How Do You Change Child Support in Minnesota?


If one parent wants to change or modify an existing order for child support, that parent will have to bring a request, also known as a motion, for the Court to consider the modification. For the parent requesting the change to be successful with his or her motion, it must be shown that one of the following necessary instances occurred:

  1. One of the parents has had a substantial decrease or increase in the parent’s income. However, the change in income must be “substantial” and the parent must be able to show it is substantial by showing that if a new calculation for support was done including both parents’ current gross monthly incomes it would equate to a new monthly child support obligation amounting to a 20% change, and that change must result in a $75 difference for the monthly support, too. For the purposes of determining child support, “income” means gross income, which includes the amount the parent is paid before taxes, retirement payments withheld, and insurance, as well as other amounts. This is different from the parent’s take home pay (i.e. net income).; OR
  2. There has been a substantial change to the monthly cost of living expenses of a parent or both parents, and/or the expenses for the joint children (including medical expenses actually incurred), AND the current child support obligation is resulting in a financial hardship for the parent seeking the modification to the amount of child support. Please Note: This change in expenses will not always be enough by itself to cause the Court to modify child support, but the Court will likely consider it along with other issues/changes; OR
  3. There is a change in one of the parent’s ability to receive, whether they start receiving or stop receiving, government assistance (for example: MA (Medical Assistance), Minnesota Care, childcare help provided by the government, SNAP or Food Stamps, and/ or other cash or grants from the government, etc.); OR
  4. The parent obligated to purchase health care coverage for the joint children is no longer eligible to provide the insurance, or is no longer able to afford the coverage due to a substantial change in the cost for the health care insurance since the date of the last Child Support Order that dealt with medical support/coverage; OR
  5. There has been a substantial change in the cost for the childcare expenses for the child/children involved, since the most recent Order dealing with childcare support; OR
  6. One or more of the parents’ joint children has “emancipated”, meaning that the child either i) turned 18 years old and graduated from high school, or ii) the child is currently attending high school but turned 20 years old, whichever first occurs; OR
  7. The Court has entered an Order that substantially modifies parenting time (visitation rights). Minnesota’s current child support guidelines determines child support based partially on the amount of parenting time a parent has with the joint child or children. The guidelines breaks down parenting time into 3 different levels: less than 10%, 10% or more up to 45%, and 45.1% or more. If the Court enters an Order that changes the schedule for parenting time and the parent’s parenting time percentage changes such that it moves the parent to a new level (under the guidelines), then a substantial change in circumstances has occurred which may allow the court to modify child support. Of course, the new calculation for child support must reflect a new basic child support amount which is at least 20% different (more or less) and a at least a $75.00 change in the monthly obligation also occurs.


If I have custody, will I receive child support?
In most cases, yes, but since child care is based on a variety of factors including the gross income of both parties, daycare expense and medical expenses.

Can a parent refuse to allow visitation if child support is not paid?
No, you may not refuse to allow the other parent to see the child. There are other enforcement actions that can be brought against an individual who is not paying child support.

Can I deduct child support payments?
No, if you pay child support, those payments are not deductible on your taxes. Related to this, if you are the recipient of child support payments, you do not have to report the payment as taxable income. Please note: We are not providing Tax Advice, and you should consult with a certified public accountant.

Does it affect Cost of Living Adjustments if a parent loses his or her job or fails to pay child support?
If you lose your job, you may be eligible to file a motion with the court to modify your child support. Separate from this, if a you fail to pay child support, the Cost of Living Adjustment increase is not automatically suspended. If you cannot pay the COLA increase due to a change in circumstances, you will need to petition the court to reduce the amount of payments or modify the agreement. If you are the parent who is not receiving payments, you will need to file a claim in court against the other parent for failure to pay the Cost of Living Adjustment increase and failure to pay child support.

For more answers to your child support questions, please call 952-361-5556952-361-5556 to connect with an experienced and knowledgeable Minnesota child support lawyer now, or you can fill out the contact form above.

Related Information:

Frequently Asked Child Support Questions

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