Understanding Child Support in Missouri

Understanding child support in MissouriThe Show Me State’s child support laws are an example of an income share model. Child support payments are designed to give the children the same standard of living they would have had if their parents remained married. Therefore, Missouri’s child support guidelines take a number of factors into consideration. Read on for more information.

These factors, especially parental income, usually change over time. When that happens, a Liberty child support lawyer may be able to modify the child support obligation. The best interest of the children is always the overriding factor in these situations, as well as child custody determinations.

Initial Determinations

As mentioned, the guideline amount is presumptively reasonable in most cases. Missouri uses a complicated formula that considers the incomes of both parents, the parenting time division, the number of children in the family, and several other factors.

The guidelines determine an overall child support obligation. Then, the judge divides this amount between the parents, largely based on their individual incomes. This system, while rather cumbersome, usually produces a manageable child support obligation that maintains the children’s standard of living.

Gross income is usually the most important factor. Income for child support purposes may be different than net income for tax purposes.

Judges may deviate from the guideline amount if the child has special educational, medical, or other needs which the guidelines do not fully consider.

Subsequent Modifications

Financial and practical circumstances largely determine the initial child support amount. If these conditions change, it may make sense to change the child support obligation as well.

Changed financial circumstances, usually an income increase or decrease, could justify a modification. The change must be substantial, continuous, and largely involuntary. People cannot quit their jobs to reduce their child support obligations. The same thing applies to alimony or maintenance payments.

A change in circumstances may involve the number of overnights a child stays in one parent’s home rather than the other parent’s home. Once again, this change must be substantial and continuous.

The child support obligation usually ends at 18, unless the child is in school and meets certain requirements. Then, it terminates at age 21. In the event the child suffers from a mental or physical disability child support payments may be extended as well.

Child support decisions in Missouri are somewhat complex. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Liberty family law lawyer, contact the Aramjoo Law Firm, LLC. We routinely handle matters in Clay County and nearby jurisdictions.

FAQs

Who pays child support in MO?

The non-residential parent in most situations is who pays child support in Missouri.

How much is child support in Missouri?

Child support guidelines in the Show Me State take a number of factors into account, mostly the timesharing division and the incomes of both parents.

Why do I have to pay child support?

Child support raises your children’s standard of living to the level they would have had if you and your spouse were still married. Children shouldn’t be financially penalized for their parents’ divorce.

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