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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

518.641 Cost-of-living adjustments in maintenance or child support order.

Subdivision 1. Requirement. An order for maintenance or child support shall provide for a biennial adjustment in the amount to be paid based on a change in the cost of living. An order that provides for a cost-of-living adjustment shall specify the cost-of-living index to be applied and the date on which the cost-of-living adjustment shall become effective. The court may use the consumer price index for all urban consumers, Minneapolis-St. Paul (CPI-U), the consumer price index for wage earners and clerical, Minneapolis-St. Paul (CPI-W), or another cost-of-living index published by the department of labor which it specifically finds is more appropriate. Cost-of-living increases under this section shall be compounded. The court may also increase the amount by more than the cost-of-living adjustment by agreement of the parties or by making further findings. The adjustment becomes effective on the first of May of the year in which it is made, for cases in which payment is made to the public authority. For cases in which payment is not made to the public authority, application for an adjustment may be made in any month but no application for an adjustment may be made sooner than two years after the date of the dissolution decree. A court may waive the requirement of the cost-of-living clause if it expressly finds that the obligor's occupation or income, or both, does not provide for cost-of-living adjustment or that the order for maintenance or child support has a provision such as a step increase that has the effect of a cost-of-living clause. The court may waive a cost-of-living adjustment in a maintenance order if the parties so agree in writing. The commissioner of human services may promulgate rules for child support adjustments under this section in accordance with the rulemaking provisions of chapter 14. Notice of this statute must comply with section 518.68, subdivision 2.

Subd. 2. Conditions. No adjustment under this section may be made unless the order provides for it and until the following conditions are met:

(a) the obligee serves notice of the application for adjustment by mail on the obligor at the obligor's last known address at least 20 days before the effective date of the adjustment;

(b) the notice to the obligor informs the obligor of the date on which the adjustment in payments will become effective;

(c) after receipt of notice and before the effective day of the adjustment, the obligor fails to request a hearing on the issue of whether the adjustment should take effect, and ex parte, to stay imposition of the adjustment pending outcome of the hearing; or

(d) the public authority sends notice of its application for adjustment to the obligor at the obligor's last known address at least 20 days before the effective date of the adjustment, and the notice informs the obligor of the date on which the adjustment will become effective and the procedures for contesting the adjustment according to section 484.702.

Subd. 3. Result of hearing. If, at a hearing pursuant to this section, the obligor establishes an insufficient cost of living or other increase in income that prevents fulfillment of the adjusted maintenance or child support obligation, the court may direct that all or part of the adjustment not take effect. If, at the hearing, the obligor does not establish this insufficient increase in income, the adjustment shall take effect as of the date it would have become effective had no hearing been requested.

Subd. 4. Form. The department of human services shall prepare and make available to the court and obligors a form to be submitted to the department by the obligor in support of a request for hearing under this section regarding a child support order.

Subd. 5. Request for cost-of-living clause. A motion for enforcement or modification of an existing maintenance or child support order shall include a request for a cost-of-living clause. The court may deny the request only upon an express finding that the obligor's occupation, income, or both, does not provide for a cost-of-living adjustment or that the existing maintenance or child support order either has a cost-of-living clause or sets forth a step increase which has the effect of a cost-of-living adjustment.

HIST: 1983 c 308 s 24; 1984 c 654 art 5 s 58; 1988 c 668 s 25; 1991 c 266 s 8,9; 1993 c 322 s 15; 1997 c 187 art 2 s 14; 1997 c 245 art 1 s 30; 1999 c 196 art 2 s 21