What is Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA)

COLA is an adjustment based on inflation to anyone who is paying child support OR spousal Maintenance. 

When is the COLA?

COLA is adjusted every two years.  If the county involved in either collections or if it is a IV-D case based on assistance COLA will be automatically calculated .and the person receiving the COLA will not have to do anything.  The person paying the COLA will be notified usually the end of March and will have until the end of April to obejct to it or it will to into effect. 

How Much is the COLA?

The cost-of-living adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This index measure the increased costs of things like food, clothing, gasoline and shelter. The (CPI) has increased much more this past year than in recent years. The CPI is a measure of the average change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services.  

The actual percentage change really varies year by year and has all the way down to 3% 20 years ago to nearly 13% in 2023..

Stopping the COLA

Must be able to prove there has not been a sufficient cost-of-living or other increase in income to allow for an adjustment in child support.

Generally, this is done through paystubs and taxes.  You can also argue that increased expenses make the COLA unfair.

You will need to file an objection to the COLA increase before May 1 of the year it goes into effect.  That means to stop the 2023 COLA  participants must file the objection with the court no later than April 28, 2023, which is the last business day before May 1, 2023.   

If we look at the law, specifically   Minn. Stat. § 518A.29, you will see there are two ways tto avoid COLA:

1.         Agreement and Order to Waive (or Partially Waive) COLA:

  • Both parents may agree to waive  the cost-of-living adjustment using the Agreement and Order to Waive (or Partially Waive) Cost-of-Living Adjustment  form and instructions available on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website
  • The county attorney’s office must approve the agreement, so it is important to contact your county child support office at least a week ahead of the effective date of the adjustment
  • The county child support office may ask for proof of income, such as tax forms for the last three years, from the parent who owes child support
  • The court must approve the agreement and sign the order

2.         Motion to Stop COLA with Court:

  • The parent who owes child support must file the Notice of Motion and Motion to Stop COLA  with the court administrator no later than the last business day before the adjustment effective date. The parent must also serve copies by first-class mail to the other parent. If the county is involved, you will need to serve them as well.
  • If the parent who owes child support properly serves and files a motion asking to stop the adjustment, the child support office will wait for the court decision before adjusting the child support. If the court orders a cost-of-living adjustment, it will take effect on the date originally listed in the cost-of-living notice (backdating it).

Here are some helpful free for Child Support COLA forms:

Minnesota Judicial Branch – GetForms (

There are two groups of COLA forms, so make sure the correct docs are used:

  1. Expedited Process: Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Forms
  2. District Court: Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Forms