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Is the economy stretching your child support too thin?

After separating from your child’s other parent, seeking appropriate financial support was likely one of the next steps you took. Family courts in Minnesota take into account numerous factors before arriving at a monthly amount to help you cover expenses for your child, such as food, clothing, educational supplies and other needs. Because these costs do not remain stagnant, neither should your support amount.

Most child support orders in this state contain allowances for cost-of-living increases. However, what if you are among those who are finding it impossible to keep up with the rising cost of living due to inflation? You are likely noticing that it takes more and more money to fill your gas tank to get your children to their activities or to put nutritious food on the table for your kids. Is it possible to raise the amount of support you receive?

Seeking a modification

To keep up with normal fluctuations in prices for everyday items, your child support order likely includes a provision for cost-of-living increases. This means that typically every two years, the amount of support your child’s other parent must contribute will go up a certain amount. However, there are some extraordinary circumstances that may prompt you to seek additional funds either temporarily or permanently. Courts usually consider these modifications under any of the following conditions:

  • You have experienced a significant decrease in your income, such as a job loss or a reduction of your hours at work, through no fault of your own.
  • The income of the paying parent has increased, for example getting a raise or changing jobs.
  • Your child now has significant medical expenses, or the cost of your child’s health care coverage has increased substantially.
  • The needs or expenses of the child have dramatically increased.

Keeping up with the recent inflationary trends has been difficult for many families. However, in order for the court to consider your request for a modification beyond the normal cost-of-living increase, you will have to prove the hardships any of the above situations have created for you and your child. This is not always easy and can include complex legal issues.

Nevertheless, when children are involved, you do not always have the option to just tighten the belt and ride out the current shaky economy. When protecting the welfare of your children involves seeking a modification of court ordered child support payments, it is wise to have reliable and experienced legal assistance.