Cost-of-Living Adjustment for Child Support

It is not your imagination – the cost for housing, food, gas, and other basic living expenses increases year after year after year. Parents are very aware of the increased living expenses especially as their children get older. While child support defers a portion of the actual costs that come with caring for and raising children, the court-ordered amount in itself cannot keep pace with inflation and those ever-costly basic living expenses.

Minnesota child support law allows for a 1%-1.5% cost-of-living increase once every two years to a court-ordered monthly child support payment using a federal CPI, or Consumer Price Index, which tracks the increased costs of housing, food, clothing, and other typical living expenses. Not all court Orders create an automatic right to a cost-of-living increase. For those Orders that are silent on if and when a cost-of-living increase applies, a specific court form called Appendix A, which should be attached to any final family court Order, explains a child support award is subject to a cost-of-living increase.

The Minnesota Legislature’s website has a link to a guide that explains how to contact the other parent to let him or her know the court Ordered child support obligation now needs to reflect a cost-of-living increase. Yet, a cost-of-living increase is not automatic. The person paying child support can choose to file a Motion with the court contesting the increase, but the Motion must be served on the other parent and filed with the court within 20 days of receiving notice of the wanted cost-of-living increase.

With court orders that do not specifically require a cost-of-living increase or do not include Appendix A, the person wanting that increase may file paperwork with the child support office asking for a cost-of-living increase to begin. Not all cases are one where a child support office can step in so it is best to call to learn if it can be involved. Filing a Motion in court asking a judge to order a cost-of-living increase is an option for those situations where parents do not want to involve a local child support office or when that office cannot help.

Life is not less expensive as we get older as parents in particular know. A cost-of-living increase is nominal at best although it is an option that can better help with the children’s living expenses.

If you would like more information about a child support cost-of-living increase, contact us at 218.722-2655 or fill out our consultation form to schedule a consultation.

Jessica Sterle

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