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Does 50-50 Custody Reduce Child Support in Missouri?

Does 50-50 Custody Reduce Child Support in Missouri?When child custody is shared 50-50 in Missouri, it may affect the resulting child support amount but it does not automatically cancel child support obligations. The Family Court considers many other factors besides parenting time, all aimed at the child’s best interests while taking into account each parent’s circumstances. If you need legal advice for your particular situation, reach out to our experienced child custody attorney.

Why Child Support May Still Be Ordered in 50-50 Custody

Some parents may assume that if they get equal time to care for their child, neither parent has to pay child support to the other. Parenting time, however, isn’t the only thing that dictates child support. Under the Revised Statutes of Missouri, these are some of the factors that the Family Court has to consider in child support determination:

  • The child’s financial needs and resources
  • The parents’ financial resources and needs
  • The standard of living that the child would have experienced had the parents stayed together
  • The child’s educational needs, and physical and emotional condition
  • The legal and physical custody arrangements, including each parent’s amount of time with the child and their associated expenses
  • Each parent’s work-related child care expenses (such as daycare costs when the parent goes to work).

In the explanation above, note how the court considers each parent’s finances and expenses, and also tries to maintain a certain standard of living for the child. These are usually the reasons a judge orders child support despite equal custody between the parents.

How Child Support May Increase or Decrease in 50-50 Custody

Let’s take a look at common scenarios affecting the child support amount despite equal custody:

  • Disparity in parents’ incomes – In many cases, one parent makes significantly more money than the other. The higher-earning parent usually has to pay support to the other parent to help them fulfill the child’s needs.
  • Income adjustments – If the paying parent is also paying alimony or is raising other children, this reduces their gross income and can subsequently reduce the amount of child support they have to pay.
  • “Non-duplicable” child-rearing costs – Equal parenting time doesn’t always mean equal child care expenses. One parent may shoulder unique costs such as the child’s health insurance premiums, daycare, summer school, seasonal clothing, and extraordinary medical costs.

You will find these elements in Missouri’s Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet, which is what you fill out to compute your presumed child support amount. It’s best to have the guidance of a child support lawyer to ensure your worksheet is complete and accurate.

Can Parents Agree to Waive Child Support When Sharing Custody Equally?

Yes, it’s possible for Missouri parents to ask the court for no child support during divorce. The court, however, will not always agree.

Though parents can create a written settlement showing that neither of them asks for child support, the judge will still consider all the support factors we enumerated above. If the court finds that child support is necessary for the child’s best interests, it can dismiss the parents’ agreement and order the support. Once the court gives this order, both parents are legally bound to comply, even though they don’t see it as necessary.

If you already have a child support order and you believe the payment obligations should change, you may consider requesting for child support modification. You must show the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances that warrants the order modification. A knowledgeable Family Law attorney can help you build your case and navigate the modification process.

Contact a Child Support Attorney at Shea Kohl Law

Whether you’re having a contested or uncontested divorce, child support can be tricky. You want what’s best for your child, but you must also protect yourself from unfair arrangements. Get sound legal guidance from Shea Kohl, Attorneys at Law. We are top-rated Family Law attorneys with over 100 years of combined experience in child custody and support cases.

Talk to us in a confidential consultation. Call Shea Kohl Law at (636) 946-9999 today.

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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.