Child support is often necessary for the continued financial maintenance of your child. However, it is common for either the parent or the child to experience life changes and require a modification in child support payments.
When you need legal guidance regarding child support modification, turn to the child custody lawyers at Johnson Turner Legal.
Getting Child Support
Child support often comes into play when parents are seeking legal separation or divorce or when parents aren’t married but want to legally establish child support. These payments help with the maintenance and care of the child.
Depending on the situation, parents can make their own arrangements for child support. Otherwise, the court may need to intervene, with a judge reviewing the circumstances and determining which parent is entitled to child support and how much it will be.
A judge can review financial documents and use statutory guidelines to come up with the appropriate amount. They can also review several factors allowing them to deviate from that amount, including:
- Both parents’ employment, income, and resources
- Whether there are extraordinary financial needs
- The standard of living the child is used to
- Which parent gets the dependent income tax exemption
- The parents’ debts
Once a judge calculates an amount, they will include the details in a court order. The paying parent must keep up with child support payments in order to avoid consequences.
It Is Possible to Modify Child Support in Minnesota
Life happens and circumstances change, sometimes making it difficult to successfully make child support payments. Therefore, it’s possible to modify child support details.
You must qualify for a change in child support. Under Minnesota law, if you wish to modify child support, you must show proof of one or more of the following circumstances:
- Substantial increase in either the paying or receiving parent’s income
- Substantial increased or decreased needs of either parent or the child(ren)
- Receipt of public assistance
- Change in the cost of living for either parent as measured by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (FBLS)
- Substantial medical expenses for the child
- Change in the availability of adequate healthcare coverage or a significant increase or decrease in healthcare coverage expenses
- New addition of education-related childcare expenses of the receiving parent
- Significant increase or decrease in existing childcare expenses
- Child has been emancipated
A parent must prove the payments are unreasonable or unfair and show there has been a substantial change in circumstance. Without this, it is unlikely the court would agree to modify child support payments.
How to Modify Child Support in Minnesota
The first step to seeking a child support modification is filing a motion to modify child support and accompanying paperwork with the court. Then the petitioning parent gives notice to the respondent parent by providing copies of the paperwork.
You will appear in court, where the judge will hear from both parties regarding the need for modification. If approved, the court will modify the existing order to reflect the changes.
If parents are able to agree on the modification, they may file a stipulation, or an agreement, with the court. In many cases, parents do not need to appear in court. If approved, the stipulation replaces the former court order.
The route you take to modify child support is unique to you and your circumstances. It’s best to discuss your situation with a child custody lawyer for options and advice.
Insufficient Reason to Modify Child Support
A change in a parent or child’s situation must be quite significant to require a change in child support. The following reasons, while they do create changes, are unlikely to warrant a child support modification under Minnesota law:
- One party has become responsible for the support of another child (but not a child of both parties)
- Income or financial circumstances of a party’s new spouse have changed
- A party has taken a voluntary reduction in income in order to seek a modification
- A party receives overtime pay
- A new law has been passed
- Child support is based on calculations prior to 2005–2008 (before guidelines were modified)
If any of these situations pertain to you, it may be challenging to seek a modification of child support. In any event, it is always best to speak to a child custody lawyer to receive accurate and trustworthy legal information.
A Child Custody Lawyer Can Provide Valuable Guidance
If you’re considering seeking a child support modification, turn to Johnson Turner Legal for assistance. Our child custody lawyers have the knowledge and experience to provide the highest quality legal advice and help get you a fair outcome.
Contact us today to book a quick guidance call.