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Factors that justify a child support modification

When a Minnesota couple shares a child but is no longer together, the custodial parent will often receive child support payments from the other parent. The amount is determined in a variety of ways and is designed to provide for the child's needs. However, there are times when one parent or the other will seek to have the child support order changed. Child support modification can be done, but there must be a good reason or series of reasons for it to take place. Understanding the factors that are taken into account is important before moving forward with the request.

For the support order to be changed, one of the following must be in place: a substantial increase or decease in the gross income of either the paying parent or the receiving parent; a substantial increase or decrease in the needs of the paying parent, the supporting parent or the child; a parent receiving public assistance; a change in what the cost of living is for either one of the parents; the child having extraordinary medical expenses; the substantial increase or reduction in the costs for child care; or the emancipation of the child.

There are also other circumstances under which the amount can be changed. The terms of the child support order will be deemed as unreasonable and unfair in the event that: using the guidelines alters the order as it currently stands by a minimum of 20 percent and a minimum of $75 higher or lower monthly, it will mean that the order must be at least 20 percent higher or lower every month; it is not possible to enforce the current medical support provisions; the health care coverage that was ordered is not available for the child; the order as it stands is based not on a dollar amount, but on a percentage; the receiving parent or the paying parent's gross income has reduced by a minimum of 20 percent and neither is at fault; or there has been a deviation allowed due to the child living in a foreign country and the child is not living in that foreign country or the particular factor is not in place anymore.

There are many reasons why a parent might request that there be a change to a support agreement. To have the child support order changed and alter the financial obligations that are paid and received, having legal help is an imperative. Contacting a qualified attorney can help with a case.

Source: edocs.dhs.state.mn.us, "Changing Your Minnesota Support Order: A guide for parents and community partners, page 4," accessed on Oct. 9, 2016

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