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How is COLA dealt with in a Minnesota child support case?

Minnesotans who are paying or receiving child support must be aware of various aspects of the payments. When the decision is made as to how much will be paid, a frequently forgotten issue is how changes to the cost of living will be dealt with. There are inevitable changes to how much it costs to pay for everyday expenses and child support is adjusted based on that. Knowing how this is done is essential.

Most orders for child support are adjusted every two years based on the cost of living increases, alternatively known as cost of living adjustment (COLA). The court order for child support will say how much this adjustment will be. A COLA increase will often not have an automatic escalator unless there is county child support office involvement in the collection of support.

To receive COLA with the child support office of the relevant county involved, it will be handled by that office. A Notice will be sent to the participants in March. To prevent the COLA increase from taking place, the parent who is paying is required to file a Motion by the last business day in April. Short of this, the COLA increase will commence on May 1. When the office is not involved, the parent who would like to have the support altered based on COLA must file the forms to have this take place.

If a parent who is paying child support would like to stop COLA, a Motion must be filed showing that the gross income has not increased sufficiently to cover COLA. Proof must be provided in the form of the three previous tax returns. Since a support agreement can be changed based on COLA, it is imperative for both parents to understand how these changes come about. A lawyer experienced in COLA and other financial obligations can help with the entire process from the perspective of the supporting and the receiving parent.

Source: mncourts.gov, "Child Support -- How to Handle COLA," accessed on May 4, 2017

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