Child Support: What’s at Stake?
In addition to child support payment issues, decisions regarding your children’s medical insurance coverage, medical expenses, extracurricular expenses, child care costs, college costs and tax benefits may also need to be addressed as part of the process of determining a child support award.
While in Missouri, the “Form 14” Missouri Child Support Guidelines provide a method to arrive at a child support award, there are many factors that go into calculation of the guideline amount and the guidelines are not appropriate in all circumstances.
Revisiting and making changes to child support
Child support decisions may also be modified upward or downward if there is a substantial change in circumstances. We are available to advise you in your child support proceedings, whether part of an initial dissolution of marriage or paternity proceeding or a possible modification of an existing order.
As each case is different, please call us to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your situation.
The Missouri Child Support Guidelines
- In Missouri our child support guidelines are referred to as “Form 14”.
Form 14 is completed by inserting into the form the respective incomes of the parents, their other support obligations, if any, the cost of health insurance for the children and occasionally other child care or extraordinary costs for the children. The calculation of the Form 14 child support amount is not always straightforward, For example, when a parent is self employed, or when incomes vary due to commissions or bonuses, there may be differences of opinion as to the correct income figure to include in the child support calculation.
- The Line 11 Custody Adjustment on Form 14 is also an area for potential disagreement or where opinions may vary in computing the Form 14 child support amount. Line 11 of Form 14 requires an adjustment in the child support amount based on the number of overnights that the parent paying support has custody of the children. At this time, the maximum adjustment for parents with equal time is 34%. This adjustment may or may not make sense in your situation. It is possible to negotiate child support arrangements outside of the Form 14 amounts, and the court also has the option of finding that Form 14 is unjust and inappropriate in your situation, depending on your individual circumstances. The payment of spousal support also impacts the Form 14 child support amount. We will confer with you to discuss your financial situation and advise you as to the range of outcomes in your child support case.