Child support is money paid and intended for the benefit of your child. The parent paying child support to the other parent satisfies his or her share of the parents’ joint obligation to support their child financially, a joint obligation that continues until the child emancipates. Kansas and Missouri calculate this obligation through standardized worksheets which determine monthly child support based on a series of financial entries.
The primary entries include the incomes of each parent and other, more specific adjustments for certain child-related expenses a parent incur such as work-related child care and the child’s health insurance premiums. In many cases, parents are even given an adjustment associated with the amount of parenting time they exercise or for the support they pay on behalf of their other minor children from a different relationship. And in certain cases, when the combined incomes of the parties exceed a certain threshold, the worksheet used to calculate support may call for an “extended-income” formula which boosts support percentages across the board.
The vast body of law governing child support, including the child support guidelines and case law, is always evolving. The experienced attorneys at Norton Hare can help you navigate the law and help you get child support orders that are right for you and your family.
Child Support Guidelines in Missouri and Kansas
In both Kansas and Missouri, child support is governed by a set of statutes commonly referred to as the guidelines. The Kansas Child Support Guidelines can be found at this link.
The Missouri statute on child support establishment can be found below:
How is Child Support Calculated?
Calculation of child support is a required step in both Kansas and Missouri. Not every case is the same and thus, not every child support order is the same.
While it is true there are certain situations which can ultimately lead to an order for a very small or zero-sum child support order, those situations are rare and typically only occur when both parents earn comparable incomes and have agreed to share equal parenting time or share equally in the expenses of the children.
In general, the parent who is responsible for paying most of the child’s expenses, referred to as the parent responsible for paying the child’s “direct expenses” in Kansas, receives child support from the other parent. Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent, the parent who is usually ordered to pay most of the child’s expenses.
The term “custodial” does not refer to legal custody. Rather, a custodial parent is the parent with whom the children primarily reside. Sometimes the custodial parent is referred to as the parent whose address is designated as the child’s address for all education and mailing purposes. Generally, the custodial parent will be the parent who exercises most, or more, of the child’s parenting time.
Child Support Worksheets
A simple or standard worksheet may have relatively few entries such as the incomes of each party and the monthly cost of work-related daycare or health and dental insurance premiums for the children.
Sometimes a worksheet will include multiple entries accounting for a potential host of adjustments including special needs adjustments, overnight parenting time credits, parenting time adjustments, adjustments for spousal maintenance paid or received, and adjustments for other court ordered support paid.
In Kansas, this worksheet is simply called the Child Support Worksheet.
In Missouri, it is called the Form 14.
The dedicated family law attorneys at Norton Hare utilize the most up to date and standardized software associated with calculating child support using the Child Support Worksheet and Form 14.
More important than use of technology, is the experience each family law attorney at Norton Hare has in litigating the myriad of issues related to the calculation and enforcement of child support.
The seasoned child support attorneys at Norton Hare can help custodial parents to maximize support through financial investigation, discovery of hidden income, exposure of deferred compensation or the capture of in-kind compensation such as employer-provided auto allowances, company cars, cell phone or cafeteria plans of the parent paying support.
Likewise, the experienced attorneys at Norton Hare have worked to limit the exposure of parties who pay support by helping them to obtain available financial credits associated with the amount of parenting time they exercise or by spearheading accurate arrearage accountings for parents who owe past due support.
Modification of Child Support
After an order for child support has been issued, parents, or their child, may experience a change of circumstances that make the existing order for support now unreasonable, and a modification of child support may be necessary.
Kansas Child Support Modification Order
In Kansas, the court may modify any prior child support order when the party seeking the modification shows there has been a material change of circumstances which would make the existing order unreasonable under the new circumstances.
However, if three years have passed since the existing order was issued, the party seeking the modification does not need to prove there has been a material change of circumstances. The court has discretion in determining whether there has been a material change of circumstances, and common examples are when there has been a significant change in a parent’s income or in the children’s expenses. One specific example is when a change in the parties’ financial circumstances would result in a change of child support from the existing amount by 10% or more.
Missouri Child Support Modification Order
In Missouri, an order for child support may be modified only upon a showing of a change of circumstances so substantial and continuing that the terms of the existing order is now unreasonable.
As in Kansas, common examples are when there has been a significant change in a parent’s income or in the children’s expenses. One specific example is when a change in the parties’ financial circumstances would result in a change of child support from the existing amount by 20% or more.
Our Child Support Lawyers Can Help You
Find out more about child support in your case by scheduling a consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable Norton Hare child support lawyer today.