Modifying your child support order may be a necessity due to a change in your circumstances. Sometimes, however, you and your co-parent may agree that a modification is in a child’s interests even if there is no change in circumstances that requires it.

State law allows you to ask the court for a modification in either situation. The Minnesota Judicial Branch describes the two methods of modifying a child support order: motion to modify support and stipulation. It also explains the situations in which each may apply.

Motion to modify support

A motion to modify support is only available if the original order is no longer fair or reasonable due to a change of circumstances. You can file a motion to modify yourself or, if the case involves the County Child Support Office, you can ask it to file the motion on your behalf. However, this may involve a delay, or the County Child Support Office may simply decline to do so.

A motion to modify support does not apply retroactively beyond the date that the court informed the other parties of it. You must explain the change of circumstances that makes the modification necessary upon filing your petition.

Stipulation

You and your co-parent can file a stipulation if you both agree to the modification even if there is no change in circumstances necessitating it. You must submit the agreement in writing for a judge or magistrate to review. To discuss the stipulation with the judge who will make the decision, you may have to attend a hearing.

The judge is free to decide whether or not to sign the stipulation. If the judge signs it, the stipulation becomes the new child support order. The written stipulation must demonstrate to the court why the modification is in the child’s interest.