Missouri Child Support & Overnight Calculations
Missouri uses a parenting time percentage in its child support formula to determine the amount of child support in your divorce case.
Besides income, overnight totals are a key part of the Missouri child support formula. Your overnights directly affect your child support, whether you pay or receive.
Missouri attorneys and judges often rely on overnight estimates only, even if they are incorrect, because counting total hours is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.
Using estimates means your overnight totals are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.
To calculate overnights, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to count each overnight for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.
The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your overnight totals to see if they were estimated incorrectly.
Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total overnights, and you can see how your overnight totals change each year due to holidays and other events.
You can also track what actually happens, and show how much parenting time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.
In any divorce, Missouri family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. The total parenting time factors into the child support formula for both sole and joint custody.
Missouri sole physical custody: The children reside with and are supervised by the residential parent, while the other parent is entitled to scheduled visitations. In Missouri, sole physical custody is given to the parent with whom the children spend the most time with. This custody status is generally reserved for situations where the non-custodial parent represents a danger to the children.
Missouri joint physical custody: Each parent has significant periods of physical custody, which allows them frequent and continuing contact with their children. Missouri law outlines shared custody as any arrangement in which the child has regular and continuing contact with both parents. Joint physical custody is the most common form of custody awarded by family courts in Missouri. Parenting time does not have to be equally divided to qualify for joint physical custody.
Missouri family courts use formulas that consider both parents' incomes and the needs of the child to arrive at a monthly child support amount. A parenting time adjustment is given based on the total parenting time each parent is scheduled for.
Sole custody formula: The total income between the two parents is put into the formula and then a basic monthly support is figured by using the Missouri Child Support Guidelines. Certain deductions are allowed when figuring total income.
To be considered a sole custody case, the non-residential parent spends fewer than 36 overnights per year with the children. No overnight credit is applied toward child support. The residential parent receives child support from the non-residential parents according to Missouri law.
Joint custody formula: To qualify for joint custody, the Missouri statues outline that the non-residential parent hosts the children anywhere from 37 overnights to 182 overnights annually.
Non-residential parents can qualify for up to 50 percent adjustment to their child support, based on the number of overnights. Between 37 and 109 overnights, the non-residential parent can receive an adjustment to the child support. Above 109 overnights requires a customized adjustment percentage determined by the Missouri court.
Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert has an adjusted income of $4,000 per month, while Mary's adjusted income is $2,400 per month. They have two children.
See how the child support amounts change in these examples:
- Scenario #1: Robert is the non-residential parent in this sole custody case, and is scheduled to host the children for less than 36 overnights per year. He pays $848 in child support to Mary.
- Scenario #2: Mary is the non-residential parent and hosts the children for less than 36 overnights per year. She pays $509 in child support to Robert.
In Missouri sole custody cases, the non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent, regardless of income.
Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's adjusted income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's adjusted income is $2,400 per month. They have two children.
See how the child support amounts change in these examples:
- Scenario #1: Robert hosts the children for 37 to 72 overnights. This qualifies him for a 6 percent adjustment. He pays $767 in child support to Mary.
- Scenario #2: Robert hosts the children for 73 to 91 overnights. This qualifies him for a 9 percent adjustment. He pays $726 in child support to Mary.
- Scenario #3: Robert hosts the children for 92 to 109 overnights. This qualifies him for a 10 percent adjustment. He pays $712 in child support to Mary.
- Scenario #4: Robert hosts the children for 150 overnights, which requires a customized adjustment from a Missouri family court. The court decides that a 22 percent adjustment is fair. He pays $550 in child support to Mary.
If Mary is the non-residential parent, she pays child support to Robert. She is eligible for a parenting time adjustment based on the total number of overnights with the children.
In Missouri joint physical custody cases, the non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent.
Missouri's child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for child support:
Eligible children: Child support ends for any child who reaches 18 years old or upon graduation, or at age 21 if enrolled full time at a secondary school.
Gross earnings: Gross earnings are established based on tax records and current pay stubs. Missouri law requires the use of both parents' incomes from the equivalent of one full-time job to determine a child support amount.
Specific deductions: There are some deductions allowed by Missouri family courts that allow an adjustment of the income, including health insurance premiums for the children, support for other children and child care expenses, for example.
Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.
Here are some other reasons why accurate parenting time numbers help you, the other parent and your children:
- It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
- It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
- It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
- It is compliant with Missouri law
Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.
To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Missouri, remember these 5 things:
- The child support amount is determined using guidelines established under state law in the Missouri Revised Statutes Section 452.340. These guidelines are based on the monthly net income of both parents.
- Missouri family courts favor joint physical custody over sole physical custody.
- The parenting time adjustments for the non-residential parent's child support amount can range from 6 to 50 percent, depending on the total number of overnights with the children.
- A 6 to 10 percent adjustment is based on 36 to 109 overnights per year, using an adjustment table. Above 109 overnights requires a customized adjustment to be determined by each Missouri family court on a case by case basis, up to 50 percent.
- The non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent..
Use Custody X Change software to create a custody schedule that will quickly calculate the total parenting time for the Missouri child support formula.
As you negotiate what kind of joint custody schedule will best fit your needs, the software will accurately calculate your parenting time percentage.