It depends. Missouri family courts use a chart called the Form 14 to determine a monthly presumed child support amount. When the court analyzes child support, and works to complete a Form 14, they will consider various items, including the following:

Gross Income: Sometimes this can be a straightforward number and sometimes it isn’t! Litigation can sometimes heat up when parties try to determine their respective incomes. For example, bonuses, stock options, car allowances, overtime pay or investment income may be relevant factors in your specific case and can be highly debated.

Health Insurance Costs: The presumed child support amount can take into account the total cost for medical, dental and vision insurance. This amount will typically be the amount the parent pays for the child (or children), NOT the overall amount the parent pays for health care each month.

Custody Adjustment: This adjustment (presented as a percentage in the Form 14, on line 11), reflects the number of overnights the parent paying support will have with the children each year. So, for example, if the parent paying support has 121 overnights per year, a 34% custody adjustment may be appropriate.   This adjustment is in place to account for expenses the parent paying support will incur while the children are in his or her care. It is important to know that although the Missouri Supreme Court has authorized a 50% adjustment, the exact amount of the adjustment is ultimately up to the judge.

The court must consider all relevant factors in arriving at a child support amount. See Missouri Statute §452.340.1 for more information.

Keep in mind that although Missouri Judges must determine the “presumed” child support amount using the form 14, judges are not bound to follow the presumed amount if the judge finds the amount to be “unjust or inappropriate.” For additional directions, comments and examples regarding the use of the Form 14, see the directions and comments under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 88.01.

Be aware every situation is unique. If you have questions about your individual situation, please contact an attorney. This post should not be considered to have formed an attorney/client relationship and should not be considered legal advice.