Modification in Missouri

Life changes. There are many reasons why an individual might want to modify an existing order of child custody or child support. Common reasons for modification include changes in employment, which may present changes to both income and residence, as well as events like re-marriage.

Either party may desire a modification. For instance, the individual paying support may wish to decrease the order on account of the improved situation of an ex-spouse receiving support.

The person desiring to modify an existing order of child custody or child support must show changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the existing terms unreasonable. In a proceeding for modification of any child support judgment, the court, in determining whether or not a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, considers all financial resources of both parties, including the extent to which the reasonable expenses of either party are, or should be, shared by a spouse or other person with whom he or she cohabits, and the earning capacity of a party who is not employed.

If the application of the child support guidelines and criteria set forth in section 452.340 and applicable supreme court rules to the financial circumstances of the parties would result in a change of child support from the existing amount by twenty percent or more, a prima facie showing has been made of a change of circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the present terms unreasonable (if the existing amount was based upon the presumed amount pursuant to the child support guidelines).

Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the judgment, provisions for the support of a child are terminated by emancipation of the child. The parent entitled to receive child support has a duty to notify the parent obligated to pay support of the child’s emancipation and if he or she fails to do so, the parent entitled to receive child support is liable to the parent obligated to pay support for child support paid following emancipation of a minor child, plus interest.

The court has continuing personal jurisdiction over both the obligee and the obligor of a court order for child support for the purpose of modifying such order. In other words, the court that entered the existing divorce or paternity order will also hear the motion to modify that order.

Modification of a child custody order may occur when a parent re-locates, particularly the residential custodian. Additionally, as a child becomes older, he or she has more input on which parent he wishes to serve as his or her residential custodian.

If you have additional questions about child custody or child support modification, call or come visit the family law attorneys at the Paul Law Firm. Consultations are always free!