Post-decree Modification

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Minnesota law provides that any time there is a substantial change in financial circumstances child support can be subject to review. Child support can be considered modifiable when a change in circumstance because of a loss of job, an increase in income those types of things are present.

There are other factors that may justify a reconsideration of child support, for example, if the cost of health insurance or dental insurance goes up, the cost of work related childcare goes up or if there’s a change in the overall parenting relationship that can also be a change in circumstance that would justify a modification of child support.

Under Minnesota law in order to have a what lawyers call a prima facie case of a substantial change, you need to show at least a 20 percent shift from the existing child support order in order for a modification to be justified.

In some cases, people pre-plan for the need to make adjustments to a parenting schedule and can agree ahead of time that they’re going to simply apply the best interest of the child standard for any future consideration of child support. Absent that agreement, if someone were wanting to make a substantial change in the parenting relationship altering the parenting time schedule they either need to demonstrate an agreement to the parties, an endangerment to the emotional or physical welfare of the child or children. Or an integration meaning that the children are living with one parent or the other in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of the divorce degree.

Spousal maintenance simply stated is an award of money formally known as alimony that was required for a party to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. That can be an amount that can either be temporarily awarded or stated as permanent spousal maintenance. That is also subject to modification in the event of a substantial change in circumstances. Again, in some case, parties contract with each other they’re what’s known as care _____ waivers to limit the circumstances under which spousal maintenance can be changed at all.

Absent that kind of contractual agreement, things like retirement can be a basis for modifying a spousal maintenance. In fact, that appears to me to be the new frontier as the baby boomers age and head into retirement age, there’s a whole new body of cases seeking resolution by virtue of retirement. Is the retirement bona fide? Is it a reasonable retirement or is it done simply to avoid paying spousal maintenance? Those are the types of considerations that would go into play when modifying spousal maintenance.