Child Support Modification in Missouri

Child Support Modification in Missouri

Child support is an important factor in ensuring that the emotional and financial needs of shared children are met after divorce. Both court-ordered and FSD-ordered child support is modifiable in Missouri, but the party seeking modification must prove a change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing.

To determine whether a Child Support Modification Missouri is appropriate, consider the following changes:

Change in Financial Status

The amount of child support someone pays or receives is based on various financial factors. Those same factors can change over time, and the changes can affect both parents. A court can change an existing support arrangement to reflect these new circumstances.

For example, let’s say a former spouse loses their job and is unable to pay their child support. It’s likely they will seek a modification to lower their payments until they can secure a better position.

A judge will listen to the evidence presented and determine whether the new arrangement meets all requirements. If a court approves the new order, it will be legally binding. It’s important to consider seeking a modification as soon as possible when these life changes occur. It may save you both money and hassle in the long run.

Change in Custody or Parenting Time

The parents in a divorce case may request that the court change their custody arrangement. Judges always look to the best interests of the child when making this decision. In order to be granted a modification of custody, one parent must prove that the current situation no longer works for the family.

Custody modifications can also include changes in parenting time, but the burden of proof here is not as high. For example, a change in weekly pick up and drop off times do not need to be approved by the court. However, changing the schedule so that it no longer coincides with school holidays or other special occasions does require court approval. The judge will examine the evidence to determine if the change meets the standard of proof required for modification.

Change in Child-to-Income Ratio

Once parents divorce, both former spouses have the obligation to contribute to their shared children’s ongoing financial needs. A court establishes child support payments during the divorce process, based on each parent’s financial circumstances and their children’s needs. However, it is important to remember that these circumstances and needs can change over time.

If there is a substantial change to the financial factors used to calculate your existing child support amount, you may have grounds for requesting modification. This can include changes in both permanent and temporary situations, such as a long-term illness or injury of one parent that results in a significant decrease in income.

A judge can also deviate from the guidelines to adjust the final child support amount for extraordinary medical or educational expenses that cannot be predicted.

Change in Child’s Needs

Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Indiana child support laws provide that an existing order can be modified if a significant change in circumstances has occurred. This type of change can involve anything from a big shift in either parent’s income, to a major increase or decrease in the cost of raising children.

Parents can also seek child support modifications to address increased medical or educational expenses for their shared children. In addition, child support can be altered if the terms of an existing custody or parenting time agreement need to be adjusted. To make legally binding changes to a child support arrangement, divorced parents will need to present a petition and supporting evidence to a judge. A St. Louis family law attorney can help with this process.

Change in Employment

While a parent’s income does factor into child support calculations, a job change alone may not be sufficient to warrant a modification in an existing order. The change must be substantial and ongoing.

For example, losing a job that pays a high salary with an attractive severance package may not be enough to justify reducing child support. On the other hand, a new job that brings in a significant amount of additional money may qualify as an acceptable reason for changing child support payments.

When a parent loses a job, it’s often difficult to find another one that offers the same kind of pay. To address this, the court can “impute” an amount that the person is capable of earning based on their education, skills, and work history.