Changing a Child Support Order

Changing a Child Support Amount

If you have a case open with the child support office and are either court-ordered to pay or receive child support, you may ask that the child support office review your court order for a possible modification.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services website has a calculator and instructions to help estimate child support under the law. They also have answers to frequently asked questions relating to changing a Minnesota child support order.

Modifications of Child Support Orders

The following people / groups may ask for a modification:
  • Parents who pay child support
  • Parents (or caregivers) who receive child support
  • Washington County child support office
  • Child support offices from other states
A modification may be requested in one of three ways:
  • Contact your child support officer by phone or in writing to request your order be reviewed
  • Go to court on your own; instructions to file a motion without an attorney and without the assistance of the child support office, can be obtained from Minnesota Courts
  • Hire a private attorney to go to court with you

Situations When Modifications May Be Requested

You can ask that the child support office review your court order for a possible modification if you have a substantial change in circumstances, such as:
  • You are laid off from your job
  • You get a new job
  • Your income or the other parent's income increases or decreases
  • You become disabled
  • You go to jail, prison, or inpatient treatment for chemical dependency or mental health issues
  • The children's residence (who they live with) changes
  • You are deployed to active military service
  • You receive cash public assistance
Generally, the court will assume there has been a substantial change in circumstances and that the terms of the current support order may be changed if:
  • The support under the basic support formula is at least 20 percent and at least $75 per month higher or lower than the current support order or, if the current support order is less than $75 per month, it results in a court order that is at least 20 percent per month higher or lower
  • The medical provisions of the order are not enforceable by the child support office or the obligee
  • Health coverage is no longer available to the child by the parent currently ordered to provide it
  • The existing support order is in the form of a percentage and not a specific dollar amount
  • The gross income of either parent has decreased by at least 20 percent through no fault or choice of the parent
  • The court previously departed from the basic support formula and the factors that lead to that departure no longer apply.

Required Documentation

In order for the child support office to review your case for a modification, you will need to provide the information requested by the agency, such as:
  • Child care expenses
  • Child support obligations for other children
  • Disability verification
  • Income and expenses
  • Jail or prison status
  • Medical and dental insurance verification
  • Nonjoint children
  • Retirement income
  • Tax returns
  • Unemployment benefits


There is no cost for requesting a modification through the child support office.

After the Review

After reviewing the information you and the other parent provide, the child support office determines whether the existing order meets modification requirements.

If the requirements for a modification are met, the child support office prepares legal documents, has them reviewed by the county attorney's office, and mails them to the parents. If neither parent responds, a court order is prepared and sent to the court. If one or both parents disagree with what is proposed, you will receive a notice to appear in court for a hearing where a judge will decide the amount.

Your child support order can go up or down based on the information gathered. The new court order may not be what you expected.

If you and the other parent can agree to the support amount ahead of time, the child support office can prepare the agreement and file it with the court.

If the requirements for a modification are not met, the child support office notifies the parent who requested the review. If the parent disagrees with the child support office's determination and still wants a modification, they can file a motion asking the court to modify the order. There may be fees charged for this.

If the other parent lives in another state, the child support office may have to request that the other state conduct a review and request a modification.