Most Minnesota child support and spousal maintenance orders allow for a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) every two years. A COLA is an increase in the support/maintenance to account for the increase in the cost of living and is designed to ensure the amount of the support order keeps up with inflation. This adjustment applies only to basic support and spousal maintenance, not medical support or child care support.
While this process adjustment can happen in any month as long as it has been two years from the last COLA, if the county is collecting the child support, it happens in the spring. If the county Child Support Division is involved in your child support collection, they will mail a notice to you the week of March 27, 2023 to notify you of the COLA to your support. COLA increases in support will go into effect automatically on May 1, 2023 if you take no action.
You can file a Motion to Contest the COLA but must do so by April 28, 2023.
The amount of the COLA is based on the consumer price index listed in the court order, most likely the CPI-U for Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI. The increase in the CPI-U from 2020 to 2022 was approximately 14%. The COLA on your support amount will depend on the month of the last modification or adjustment to support.
As an illustration, a $400 per month basic support obligation issued in July 2020 would be adjusted 13.08%. The new obligation effective May 1, 2023 would be $452.32
If there has not been a sufficient cost-of-living or other increase in the income of the person paying support to allow for the adjustment, the court may stop the COLA from going into effect. This will only happen if the parties file a Stipulation and Order to stop it, or someone brings a Motion to Stop the COLA and there is hearing on the issue.
In the above example, if the person paying support was earning $8,000 gross per month, and now in 2023 they are earning $8,360 per month, they have only had a 4.5% wage increase. This would not support a 13.8% COLA to their child support.
Additionally, as discussed in my previous post, the child support guidelines were modified effective January 1, 2023. This modification is considered a change in circumstances for every child support obligation. Depending on your current income, your child support obligation could be reduced under the new guidelines.
If you want to discuss the possibility of stopping a COLA or modifying your child support, contact us to schedule a consultation.
If you want to learn more about implementing a COLA on the support you are receiving contact us to schedule a consultation.