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If you are struggling with an outdated child support order in Minnesota, you may be considering filing a motion to modify your child support. Modifying a child support order can be complicated, but it is possible if certain conditions are met. In this guide, our Minnesota child support lawyers will walk through the basics of modifying child support in Minnesota courts.

Overview of Modifying Child Support

In Minnesota, a court order for child support generally remains in effect until the child reaches 18 years old or graduates high school, whichever happens last. However, if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the order was issued, you may file a motion requesting the court to modify the existing child support order.

Some common reasons to modify child support include:

  • A parent’s income has increased or decreased significantly
  • A child’s needs have changed due to illness, disabilities, or other factors
  • Parenting time arrangements have changed
  • A parent is intentionally underemployed
  • The cost of living has changed substantially
  • A child has reached the age of emancipation

Filing a motion is the legal process to ask the court to change the existing court order. If approved, the modified order will replace the previous child support order.

What Forms Will I Need to Modify Child Support?

To start the modification process, you will need to complete and file certain forms and documents. Many of the forms you will need are available online through the Minnesota Judicial Branch website. Common forms include:

  • Motion to Modify Child Support – This form requests the court change the existing support order and explain your reasons.
  • Affidavit for Modification of Child Support – Provides updated financial information to help determine support amounts.
  • Parenting / Financial Disclosure Statement – Details your income, assets, expenses, and other financial details.
  • Petition to Modify Child Support – Formally requests the court for a new support order and provides facts about changes in circumstances.
  • Child Support Guidelines Worksheets – Helps calculate child support amounts based on both parents’ financial situations.

All forms must be completely filled out, signed, and submitted along with any necessary supporting documents. The Minnesota child support calculator can help estimate updated support amounts.

Filing Your Motion with the Court

Once you have completed all required paperwork, you can file your motion to modify child support with the court in the county that issued the existing child support order. Filing fees apply unless you obtain a fee waiver due to low income.

You must properly serve the other parent by having them sign an Admission of Service form accepting service or serve them through the sheriff’s office. This provides legal notice of your request to modify support.

The court will review your motion and make a decision on whether to grant or deny the modification. If approved, a hearing will be scheduled to establish the new support order. Both parents will have a chance to provide evidence on their financial situations.

Factors like parenting time adjustments and the child’s needs will also be considered before the court issues a modified child support order.

Tips for Modifying Child Support

  • Consult an attorney – While not required, having a family law attorney guide you through the process can be extremely helpful for successfully modifying support.
  • Act within time limits – You must wait at least one year after the existing order before filing for modification unless special circumstances exist.
  • Document all changes – Having solid evidence of changes like income fluctuations or medical bills will strengthen your case.
  • Be reasonable – Request reasonable adjustments based on proven changes to give your motion the best chance of approval.
  • Prepare thoroughly – Gather all necessary financial documents and evidence, and complete all forms accurately and completely before filing.
  • Consider alternatives – Parents can mutually agree to modify support and avoid court using mediation services.

Working with an Attorney

Trying to modify a Minnesota child support order on your own can be challenging. An experienced divorce lawyer can help:

  • Advise whether you have grounds to modify support based on changes
  • Determine the proper county and court to file your motion
  • Ensure all paperwork and forms are prepared correctly
  • Represent you at modification hearings
  • Negotiate and mediate modifications out of court if possible
  • Answer questions and provide legal advice throughout the process

At Martine Law, our seasoned Minneapolis family law attorneys can assist with filing a motion to modify your Minnesota child support order. We will thoroughly evaluate your case and fight for a modified support amount that is fair for your situation.