When To Modify Child Support In Missouri & Why
Once the original process of divorce is over and child support amounts are established in the state of Missouri, noncustodial and custodial parents may believe that payment amounts are set in stone. If the financial circumstances of you and your ex do not change substantially, that is likely the case. In the event that they do, however, you may pursue a child support modification process.
In this post, we’ll dive into the details of when it’s possible to pursue this change and why you should consider it.
Under What Circumstances Can You Modify Child Support In Missouri?
Since you’ve been paying or receiving child support consistently in the months, years or even decades following your divorce you’ve likely considered the possibility of modifying the terms of this legal arrangement. If you or your ex have experienced changes in your finances, you may be able to do so.
In order to consider a modification, the proposed amount should consist of a difference of 20% or more from the previous amount via a Form 14 calculation. If you believe you may reach this amount of difference, ask your family law attorney to perform this calculation for you.
Should you not reach 20%, but are near this number, you may certainly still consider requesting the modification, it’s simply less likely that you will succeed in implementing the change. Consult with your attorney to find out whether this process is still worth pursuing in your situation.
If you do reach the 20%, be aware that you may still not succeed. You must show the court that the change in financial circumstances is long-term. Though of course, you cannot see into the future, you have to be able to show that there is a high likelihood that said the change will persist for a significant period of time. Take note, however, that if you voluntarily decrease your income (such as by quitting your job) and you request lower child support payments, the court will not likely accept your request.
Should you succeed in showing that the difference is near or above 20% and that it reflects a lasting change, you likely have a strong case for child support modification in Missouri.
What Are The Benefits Of Child Support Modification?
It’s a basic fact of life that circumstances change, for better and for worse. It’s reasonable to expect that your original child support agreement will not fit your needs forever.
Perhaps your ex received a big promotion with raise in tow, or you’ve fallen into poor health and your hospital bills are adding up. Or maybe your child’s expenses are not what they were when you first went through your divorce. For these and similar reasons, Missouri courts are prepared for modification requests.
The benefits are clear. If you are the noncustodial parent and you are no longer able to pay the full amount of child support, a lower payment will decrease your financial burden. In a circumstance where the noncustodial parent is now gaining substantially more income, it’s beneficial for the custodial parent to receive more child support for the health, education and well-being of the child. There are many other situations in which an increase or decrease in child support is beneficial to one or both parties.
If you are interested in modifying your child support amount or your custody terms, reach out to Nolan, Mulford & DeLeeuw. We know these personal issues can cause great stress. That’s why we take care to treat all of our clients with sympathy and kindness. Our family law team is specialized in handling these matters with legal experience and true understanding of your tough situation.