Child support is a critical legal obligation to ensure children’s financial well-being following a divorce or separation from a partner. While the basics of child support, such as gross income, child care, and health insurance costs, are relatively universal, each state has its own guidelines and statutes governing how it’s calculated and modified.
Perusse Family Law provides an overview of child support modification in both Colorado and Minnesota, focusing on when and how changes can be made.
Changing Child Support Orders in Colorado
In Colorado, child support is governed by C.R.S. 14-10-115, which lays out criteria such as parental incomes, overnight stays with each parent, and the child’s necessities for calculating support.
Colorado modifications are generally allowed if there is a “significant and ongoing” change in circumstances. A 10% change higher or lower after re-calculating child support to the new circumstances will be enough to justify asking the court to modify the current order. Other substantial changes could encompass events like permanent job loss, income fluctuations, or unexpected costs related to the child’s healthcare or schooling.
Modifying Child Support Orders in Minnesota
In Minnesota, child support regulations fall under sections 518A.26 to 518A.89 of the state statutes. These laws define factors such as parental income, childcare costs, and medical expenses in calculating support.
Modifications in Minnesota are commonly pursued in two scenarios: a 20% or greater change in a parent’s income or $75 per month higher or lower support after recalculating. Also, a notable shift in circumstances like the cost of living, custody alterations, or the child’s unique medical or educational requirements could qualify as a “substantial change” in circumstances.
Steps to Pursue Child Support Modification in Colorado and Minnesota
Child support modification processes share similarities in both Colorado and Minnesota, but there are key distinctions worth noting. Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved in each state:
- Determine Eligibility for Modification
Colorado: Focuses on a “significant and continuing” change in circumstances.
Minnesota: Presumes a substantial change if there is a 20% or more change in income or $75 per month higher or lower child support result after recalculating. A change in medical insurance coverage can open the door for a modification as well as a big increase or decrease in the needs of a child are the most common reasons to modify child support.
- File a Motion to Modify
In both states, you must file a Motion to Modify Child Support with the court that originally issued the child support order. The motion should outline the reasons for the modification.
- Gather Supporting Evidence
Colorado: Documentation may include pay stubs, medical bills, or other financial evidence.
Minnesota: Documentation may similarly include financial records but can also include changes in custody or specific educational or healthcare needs for the child.
- Service of Process
In both states, the other parent must be formally served with the motion papers, generally through a process server or certified mail.
- Court Hearing
Both states require a court hearing where both parties can present evidence.
Colorado: The court may request additional documentation or expert testimonies.
Minnesota: The court generally focuses on the financial affidavits, and the motion may be filed in the “expedited process” if the issue to decide is only a change to child support.
- Judge’s Decision and New Order
In both states, if the court finds that a modification is warranted, a new child support order is issued to replace the existing one, and it will be retroactive to the date the motion was filed.
By understanding these steps and their subtle differences, you can better prepare for what to expect when seeking child support modification in Colorado or Minnesota. Consulting a family law attorney familiar with the specific state laws can offer additional, tailored guidance.
Changing Child Support Orders in CO and MN with Perusse Family Law
Understanding when and how child support can be modified is essential for parents navigating the complexities of family law. In both states, modifications are generally tied to significant changes in financial circumstances or the child’s needs.
If you find yourself in a situation that calls for a child support modification, it’s time to consult legal advice tailored to your specific state’s statutes and guidelines. Perusse Family Law is well-versed in Minnesota and Colorado family laws and is here to help you through this change. If you feel your child support order is in need of modification, contact Perusse Family Law today!