In Missouri, the law sets forth a number of factors to be considered when determining what child support – if any – should be ordered. In addition, the Missouri Supreme Court has issued a Form 14, which is updated every three years or so. The Form 14 sets forth a formula for calculating the presumed amount of child support. The formula takes into account the gross incomes of the parents, childcare costs, medical insurance costs and certain extra expenses. A credit is given in the Form 14 calculation to the parent paying support for overnight visitation, the amount of the credit is dependent upon the number of overnights with the children that are awarded to the parent paying child support. The Form 14 allows for a maximum of 34% credit but the parties can agree to a greater amount and the judge will approve it.
Neither the law nor the Form 14 states who will receive child support when the parents share exactly equal custody. Generally in St. Louis County, the parties agree that the parent earning more money will pay child support or carry the medical insurance.
If the parties are unable to agree on either child custody or child custody and support and the judge will decide, the judge exercises his or her discretion and will consider the history and practices of the parties in terms of which parent has historically been the one buying the clothing and school supplies and sporting equipment. In this regard. Judges in St. Louis County generally regard the best predictor of future behavior to be past behavior. A sudden burst of spending on the children just before filing for modification is unlikely to be persuasive.
Of course, every case is different, and if you have questions about child support, you should consult with an attorney familiar with family law matters in the court where your case will be handled. We can assist you in St. Louis County and refer you to counsel elsewhere in Missouri and also in Illinois.