The parenting plan divorced or separated parents decide on for a newborn may no longer be adequate when a child starts school. As children grow, their needs change. The parents’ situations may also change during this time. As a result, there are ways to modify child support in Missouri to account for changes in circumstances.
For parents who have no desire to go back to court to iron out a new parenting plan, there is good news. According to Missouri Courts, as long as both parents agree on the changes, they can avoid a court hearing. These would involve the exchange location, days or times. However, major changes, such as where a child resides for the majority of the time, would require a new court order to be legally binding.
If both parents cannot agree on changes or there are major changes involved, it is a good idea to consider the pros and cons of going back to court. Parents who decide to do so may file a Motion to Modify Child Support, which will prompt court proceedings to make changes that are most favorable to the child.
Despite the involvement of the court for major changes, parents who agree still face an easier route. They start off by filing their agreement with the court. The court will decide whether or not a hearing is required. When parents do not agree then the court follows the process of a contested hearing, where the parent requesting the change may be required to provide evidence that the change is necessary.
One major change that may occur naturally to a child support order is its end. In Missouri, a child support order typically ends when the last child remaining on the order turns 18 years old. According to the Missouri Department of Social Services, child support orders are not child-specific, so even when one child turns 18, the dollar amount may remain the same. However, many parents continue to make voluntary contributions to assist their children well beyond 18, especially if the child decides to attend college or has a disability.