During tough economic times, it can be difficult to pay monthly bills. Nonetheless, if you have a child support order, failing to make regular payments may expose you to significant legal consequences. Fortunately, it may be possible to pursue a reduction of your support obligation.
In Minnesota, either the paying or receiving parent may seek a support modification if the existing order has become unreasonably unfair. To determine if your order is unreasonably unfair, a judge is apt to consider certain factors.
A material change in financial circumstances is the most common reason for requesting a child support modification. If any of the following apply to you or your child’s other parent, a judge may agree to rework your support order:
- A substantial increase or decrease in gross income
- An increase or decrease in cost of living
- An increase or decrease in medical expenses
- The receipt of public assistance benefits
The child’s needs
With child support, financial circumstances are usually only part of the equation. The other part addresses the needs of the child. If your child has a change in educational, medical or other needs, you may be successful with your modification request.
Finally, it is always possible to modify a child support order if a child completes the emancipation process. That is, if your child legally emancipates, you can probably convince a judge to free you of your child support obligations.
Whether because of financial circumstances, the child’s needs or emancipation, a support modification may be possible. Because modifications are not retroactive, though, you may need to act quickly both to provide for your child and protect your finances.