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Melissa A. Featherston

Child support can be a complex issue during divorce

Child support can be a significant cause of conflict between two parents going through a divorce in Missouri. One may worry about having to pay too much in child support to the other party, while the other might be concerned about not getting enough or never getting paid at all. In Missouri, there are guidelines that help to dictate the appropriate child support amount.

Child support is designed to cover the costs of raising a child. The payments are usually made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent -- the parent who is caring for the child a majority of the time. They are intended to be made for the benefit of the child or children which the court order covers.

The child support guidelines in Missouri are essentially a fee schedule and provide for child support payment amounts based on a number of factors, including the incomes of both parents. The guidelines also take into consideration the number of children. The state offers a child support calculator that is based on these guidelines.

A Missouri court typically assumes that the dollar figure calculated by using the fee schedule is a reasonable child support amount. However, the court can adjust the payment as needed if there are particular circumstances where the amount based on the guidelines would not be just. Some reasons an adjustment may be made involve travel costs, particularly if the two parents are located far away from each other. When there has been a substantial change in circumstances, a parent may be entitled to a modification of an existing child support order to reflect a change in one of the parties' financial and/or personal circumstances.

Source: FindLaw, "What Does Child Support Cover?", Accessed on Sept. 17, 2015

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