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Modifying an existing child support order in Minnesota

Sometimes, months or even years after a child support order is entered into, the financial circumstances of either the paying parent or the receiving parent have changed. For example, a parent may have lost his or her job or, on the other hand, may have seen an increase in his or her income due to a promotion or a new job. The child's financial needs may have changed too as the child grows older. For example, the child may no longer need child care during the day or the child may have incurred additional educational expenses. Whatever the reason, there are times when either the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent in Minnesota may wish to modify their current order for child support.

There are a couple ways such a modification can occur. First of all, the parents can stipulate -- that is, agree -- to modify their child support order. However, in order for this stipulation to be effective there must be a signed written agreement that gives an explanation as to how and why the modification is in the child's best interests. Then the written stipulation needs to be filed with the court. After that a judge will go over the stipulation. If he or she is in agreement with regards to the stipulation, he or she will sign it and it will become the new, enforceable order for child support. Keep in mind that the state does not provide an official stipulation form. Therefore, parents who want to enter into a stipulation may benefit from working with an attorney.

A second way to modify a child support order in Minnesota is to file a motion to modify the order. In this case, the parent seeking the modification needs to show that a change in circumstances has taken place, so that the current order is no longer fair or reasonable. This modification can only go back to the date the other party was served with the motion, and not any time prior to that.

It is important that a child's financial needs are taken care of by both parents. This is why having an appropriate order for child support is so important. However, life is rarely static, and many times parents find that their current order for child support is no longer appropriate. Fortunately, Minnesota law recognizes this, and provides parents with a means to seek a modification if necessary.

Source: Minnesota Judicial Branch, "Child Support," accessed Aug. 15, 2016

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