Child support is very much like the children it intends to protect: It grows and changes over time. What made sense in the initial weeks and months after a divorce may not make sense a year later. As the child has grown, education and medical circumstances may have changed, and the custodial parent’s lifestyle or income may have changed.
As a result, it is often necessary to adjust support and seek child support modification in Jefferson City, Missouri over the years after a divorce. The first question divorced parents must answer is whether they must go to court to change the parenting plan and support order.
If both parents are in agreement with minor changes to a custody or support plan, there is often no need to go back to court. If the parents remain on friendly terms and with good communication, they are free to make arrangements between themselves that do not involve the court.
However, parents should consider documenting any child support modification in Jefferson City, Missouri. If the relationship sours and one parent returns to court seeking an official adjustment, they may be tempted to mis-characterize the changes as involuntary and as violations of the court-ordered plan.
When to File for Child Support Modification
If the other parent refuses to entertain changes voluntarily, it will be necessary to file a motion for a change to the custody or support order. The other parent may contest these changes, in which case a formal hearing in the court will be necessary. It should also be noted that changes in custody often – but not always – result in modifications to support as well, as the court seeks to balance resources.