If you want to change child support, you must prove that there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. This can include a change in either party’s lifestyle, living arrangements or earning capacity. Learn more about Child Support Modification in Missouri.
In Missouri, child support is calculated based on specific financial factors and is always modifiable. However, other terms of your divorce decree, such as property division, debt division or attorney fee awards are typically non-modifiable.
Change in Custody or Parenting Time
There are several circumstances under which parents can file a petition to modify their parenting plan. A court may approve a change in custody or parenting time only if the request is in line with the best interests of the child.
The judge’s decision to modify child support is based on the Missouri Child Support Guidelines. These are determined by comparing both parent’s gross incomes and the number of nights the children spend with each parent. The judge is allowed to deviate from the guidelines amount if extraordinary circumstances warrant such a deviation.
A petition for modification of child custody must detail the reason for such a change, including allegations of abuse. If the reason is based on violence, you must provide details of the most recent incident and your concern for your safety. Sensitive information like addresses is not required to be included. This petition is filed with the Circuit Clerk’s Office in your county.
Change in Child’s Needs
The amount of child support someone pays or receives is one of the most important determinations that a court will make during divorce proceedings. Missouri judges are required to determine a fair amount of child support based on the income of both parents, their children’s needs, and other circumstances. However, like any other family law matter, child support orders are subject to modification if there is evidence that significant and ongoing change has occurred.
Typically, a judge will use the state’s child support guidelines to determine an appropriate child support amount. However, a judge may deviate from the guidelines in specific cases that require extraordinary circumstances.
Whether you want to seek a change to your parenting time or child support, our experienced Missouri family law attorney can help you. We can review your situation, explain your legal rights, and provide expert advice on your best course of action for a successful outcome in your modification case.
Change in Employment
The court’s order on child support is based on both parents’ incomes, so changes in either parent’s earning potential are important when it comes to a request for modification of that amount. However, a former partner’s ability to pay doesn’t just depend on how much money they take home, but also their overall financial resources including other assets and debts they may have.
It is possible to request a change in child support under these circumstances, but it must be clear that the change is substantial and ongoing. Often, these types of requests are made when a paying parent loses their job and wants to lower their payments. Alternatively, a receiving parent gets a promotion and would like to increase their payments.
In Missouri, child support is generally paid until a child completes high school or reaches age 18, unless the child is emancipated by law. For this reason, it is vital to have the help of a family law attorney when seeking a change in child support under any circumstance.
Change in Income
The child support formula in Missouri takes into account the amount each parent makes and the number of children the parents have together. It also takes into consideration expenses like housing, utilities and food. If either former spouse experiences a significant increase or decrease in income, it may be time to file for a modification.
For example, if one parent loses a job and the other gets a raise, that change in income could justify a request for a support modification. This type of life change can be a reason for a modification even if the parent who is losing their job still has the same number of children.
Another life event that could justify a modification is remarriage. Remarriage can impact child support because courts treat both spouses’ income as a unified amount rather than separate amounts.