What You Should Know About Missouri Child Support Modification Laws


Missouri child support modification laws allow any child support order to be changed under certain circumstances. Learn more in this overview.

Basics of Missouri’s Child Support Modification Laws

According to Missouri custody law, the court must determine what is in the children’s best interests. Child custody has two components that the court must determine. First, it must decide which parent will have decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority over the child’s health, education, and welfare. This is known as legal custody.

The court must also decide where the child will live in the child’s custody and how the parents will share physical custody of the children. This component is known as physical custody. The law presumes that it is in the child’s best interests to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after divorce.

The child’s physical and legal custody arrangements are the primary factors that determine child support calculations.

Following a child support order or agreement, the child support payment may increase or decrease in specific circumstances.

For example, suppose the earning capacity of a parent or a child’s financial needs is altered. In that case, it can be enough to warrant a change. You may also be eligible for a modification if you are compelled to pay child support and subsequently start receiving Social Security benefits or even unemployment compensation.

Child support modification advice, circumstances on which to change a presumed child support order, and associated information can be explained better by a St. Louis County, child support attorney of the Carson Law Firm.

Attorney Leigh Joy Carson has been awarded the “Woman of Courage” award by the local chapter of the MS Society. She has dealt with various unusual cases that have allowed her to possess a wide breadth of experience in family law.

Call our law firm at 314-721-2422 to learn more about Missouri’s family law and child support modification laws. Let’s secure a brighter future for your children!

Missouri Child Support Guidelines

The Missouri law courts provide a child support calculator based on child support standards in Missouri to assist parents in estimating an appropriate amount of payment.

Because the law expects that the parent already spends resources directly on the child/children, the child support payments usually go to the custodial parent to care for the child. Therefore, the support payments/income are typically made by the other parent who has less parenting time, known as the non-custodial parent.

Typically, non-custodial parents must pay substantial child support income until their kid reaches the age of eighteen. However, there are certain exceptions. For example, if the child is still in school, support may be extended until the age of 21.

On the other hand, if the child marries, enters the military, secures a job, or becomes self-sufficient, the supportive period may be reduced. A youngster with a mental or physical disability, on the other hand, could receive assistance for as long as they need it.

The total amount of child support is usually determined by several factors, including the number of children plus the financial situation of each parent. The Missouri courts provide child support calculations based on child support standards in Missouri to assist you in estimating your appropriate payment of the presumed child support amount.

How Long Does a Child Support Modification Take?

Obtaining a new order that modifies your support may take at least six months for most parents. Any substantial change in the child’s circumstances or the child’s custodian is required to modify the conditions of a custody order, and the modification is required to serve the kid’s best interests.

In addition, it is vital to understand that new facts have emerged since the prior order or points that the jury was unaware of at the time of the previous order.


When Does Child Support End in Missouri?

Unless a child is physically or mentally incapacitated or enrolls in a higher education program, the child support award generally ends when the child dies, marries, enters active duty in the military, becomes self-supporting, secures a job, or turns 18.

    Child support responsibilities in Missouri differ from those in other states because they can last well past high school graduation.

    Support typically lasts until a child reaches the age of 18 or receives high school graduation, whichever comes first. If a child enrolls in a vocational or higher education institution, it means that the child’s educational status is at stake.

    Therefore, before October 1st, the child support obligation will continue to be required if the child stays enrolled in school and completes at least 12 hours of coursework per term with at least six hours of passing grades. 

    The child’s parent support obligation stops when the child reaches the age of 21 or completes their education, whichever happens first.


    How Often Can Child Support Be Modified in Missouri?

    You may petition the Family Support Division for a review and possible modification of your order every three years. If the order was started, modified, or reviewed less than three years ago, the review might be done under special circumstances.

    Missouri Child Support Modification Process

    As mentioned above, obtaining a fresh order that modifies your assistance may take at least six months for most parents. The steps involved are:

    Request a Review to Modify

    To begin the process, you only need to submit one request within 30 days to contact both sides of the family law attorney.


    Obtaining Information

    Information from both sides is double-checked. Typically, information verification will revolve around:

    • Income or the parent’s financial situation
    • Children’s health insurance coverage
    • Residential addresses

    However, it is important to note that extra documentation may be given to both parties, employers, and other sources per the law to assist in this stage.



    Prior child support orders, medical support, and any agreements must be reviewed during a modification review.

    The following are some of the major factors that influence whether or not to proceed with a modification request:

    • The length of time since the last judge-signed order
    • The significant change in life since your last order, which includes the change in the financial condition of one parent, especially the non-custodial, health insurance, or even child’s possession

    It is important to note that parents have the right to disagree with the judgment and seek their chances in the modification case.



    If the review is approved, an original order should be changed, a negotiation appointment or a date will be scheduled, and a notification letter will be sent to both parties.

    If the review is not approved, both groups will be notified by mail or through the family law attorney. Every party has the same right to appeal the verdict and re-examine it.

    You can also plead with the court to modify your support obligation by filing a motion to ensure the court modifies. The family law attorney is the right person to appeal for their client.


    Appointment for the Child Support Review Process

    An appointment for the child support review process is set. This is a meeting to discuss your new order and start composing it.

    When both sides are there, the procedure works best. Therefore, it is important to collaborate with both parties to draft a new court order that the judge will sign.

    Depending on the circumstances, this process may take some time. If neither party agrees during the negotiation session, you may be summoned to court, where a judge decides whether or not your order should be modified.



    This step works if spouses talk and fail to agree by themselves or through their attorney. However, in the case of the custody agreement, this step is usually skipped.

    Your case will be presented to the judge on the scheduled court date. You may be required to appear in court for the following reasons;

    • No agreement at the first negotiation appointment
    • A history of missing negotiation appointments
    • Complex cases
    • Family violence concerns
    • A history of missing negotiation appointments

    Collaboration with both parties is important to draft a new order that the judge can sign. The judge will also determine whether or not your order should be changed.

    This phase could take substantial time because everyone must get legal documentation informing them of the change. If the legal documents are not supplied to both sides as required by the family law, it may be impossible to move to the next step.

    How to Modify Child Support in Missouri

    To be legally enforceable, changing the terms of a child support order in Missouri requires court approval.

    However, parents who agree to support adjustments from the original order without going to court may do so as long as the revised terms of the agreement meet specific legal standards that serve the child’s best interests.

    Alternatively, any party can request a modification of the original order based on a showing of material and continuing changes in circumstances that render the terms unreasonable.

    Separated parents may choose to pursue support changes when a former spouse gets a significant change, increase or decrease.

    For example, if a former spouse providing support payments loses their job or gets a substantial income decrease, they may request a lesser monthly amount via their attorney. Furthermore, raising a former spouse’s income means a parent receiving support payments may request a higher support amount.

    Get Help From an Experienced Child Support Attorney in Missouri


    To speak with an attorney about the child support modification orders, contact the Carson Law Firm. We are well-versed in family law and can advise you on your case, including other family law matters you may face.

    For instance, if you’re considering adopting a child, you will need an attorney-client relationship with a skillful adoption lawyer to guide you through the process. Talk to us today at 314-721-2422 and allow us to guide you through the child support modification process as you navigate your change in circumstances.

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