Parents have an obligation to financially support their children, and when they separate, arrangements for child support and allocation of expenses for the children must be determined. Although you and your co-parent can agree to waive spousal support or maintenance after getting divorced, you cannot agree to waive child support.
Child support covers a portion of your child’s basic needs—food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and education. Disputes may arise if the paying parent believes the payments are too much, or if the receiving parent uses this financial support for other purposes.
If you believe your child support payments are too expensive, are being misused, or are insufficient, it is vital to take prompt legal action in order to protect yourself and your children. During a confidential consultation, a knowledgeable legal professional from Jones Family Law Group, LLC could explain your rights as a parent, what the courts expect child support payments to include, and how they should be utilized. We will fight tirelessly to ensure the terms of your agreement serve your children but are fair for you as well. Do not hesitate to contact our team today to learn more about what child support includes in Des Peres and how we can help.
Formula Determines Minimum Support Payment
You and your co-parent must both contribute financially to your children’s well-being. The parent who lives with the children most of the time is the custodial parent, who typically contributes by providing the children with a home and the necessities of life. The non-custodial parent often pays child support to share those expenses. It becomes complicated when both parents share equal time and both are deemed the “custodial parent.”
Missouri adopted a formula, Form 14, to calculate child support payments. The formula considers you and your co-parent’s gross income, the number of children you both support, who will pay health/dental/vision insurance premiums, any work-related childcare costs, and how much time the children spend in each home. You and your co-parent could use the formula as a starting point, but many couples agree to deviate from the formula. An experienced attorney in Des Peres could help you negotiate a child support agreement that works for your circumstances.
Child support should cover the necessities. Parents typically each pay a percentage of copayments and uncovered medical expenses. Parents usually negotiate to determine who pays the costs of extras like scouts, sports, tutors, camps, and similar activities.
Receiving Spouse Has Discretion
Child support payments contribute to the children’s basic needs. Sometimes, a paying parent objects to the way the receiving spouse spends the money they contribute.
Although child support is “for” the child’s food, clothing, shelter, and other expenses, the receiving parent need not set the child support money aside for those specific purposes. Instead, they manage the household, pay the mortgage, utilities, and other bills when they are due, and buy food and clothing as needed. When the child support money arrives, it reimburses the custodial parent for the non-custodial parent’s share of the children’s expenses.
One parent has no right to micromanage the other parent’s spending. However, if you believe your child is not receiving adequate care because the receiving parent is misusing child support, discuss your legal options with an attorney serving Des Peres today.
Bringing a Motion to Modify a Child Support or Custody Order
Missouri Revised Statutes §452.370 allows you to request a modification of orders the court issued with a divorce decree. A court will consider modifying an order if you can prove there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the divorce that requires a modification to your agreement.
If you believe your co-parent is not using child support for the child’s benefit, or the payments are too expensive or not enough, you could request that the court modify your support obligation. However, if the custodial parent is not meeting the child’s needs, requesting a modification to the custody arrangement might be more appropriate.
A Des Peres attorney could review the circumstances and advise whether it is appropriate to file a motion to modify child support, custody, or both. If so, they could prepare the motion and argue in court in support of changing the orders to protect your child’s best interests.
Contact a Des Peres Attorney with Your Child Support Concerns
Having limited control or influence over your child’s day-to-day life is challenging for many divorced parents. While child support intends to help you play an active role in your child’s life, it can be extremely frustrating to learn that these payments are being misused. If you disagree with the spending decisions of your co-parent or believe that your child support is too expensive or insufficient, it is important to know that you have legal options.
Knowing what child support includes in Des Peres can help determine if your co-parent misuses the funds or how to modify your agreement. However, pursuing a modification or legal action over such matters can be extremely difficult to do alone. You need a dedicated lawyer on your side that can help you determine what your next steps are. To discuss your unique situation with a compassionate legal professional, call Jones Family Law Group, LLC as soon as possible.