Can A Support Order Be Changed?

The two ways child support orders can be changed are through modification and through cost­of­living adjustments.

Either parent may request, in writing, that the child support office review the support order. The request should state reasons for the review. County child support office staff determines whether the existing order meets review requirements. If it does, the staff will complete the review and present the modification request to the court. If the requirements for a review are not met, the county child support office notifies the parent who requested the review. If the parent still wants a review, the parent can file a motion asking the court to review the order.

Support orders may be changed if there is:


  • A substantial increase or decrease in either parent`s earnings or
  • A substantial increase or decrease in the needs of a parent or child or
  • A change in a child`s or parent`s cost of living or
  • A change in custody and
  • Any of these changes makes the terms of the original order unreasonable or unfair

There is a substantial change in circumstances if:


  • Based on the noncustodial parent`s current income, changing the current order would result in a child support amount that is at least 20 percent and at least $50 higher or lower than the current order
  • Medical support provisions are not enforceable
  • Health coverage ordered is not available to the child for whom the order is established

The current order is for a percentage of income, not a fixed dollar amount. The court may also change support orders if there are:


  • Extraordinary medical expenses for the child
  • Changes in child care needs because of work or education needs of the custodial parent.

Cost of living adjustments
Since 1983, most Minnesota child support orders have stated that a cost of living adjustment must be done every two years.

If a child support office is collecting child support, it takes the necessary steps to obtain the cost of living adjustment in the child support order. Unless the noncustodial parent disagrees with the action, this adjustment automatically happens every other year on May 1.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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