Child support issues can be complex during a Missouri divorce. State law provides a system of guidelines on how child support issues may be addressed, but individual circumstances may be involved in a particular case to justify departing from the guidelines. What many Columbia area parents may also understand is that once a divorce has been finalized, circumstances may change down the road.

Child support and visitation issues can re-emerge long after a divorce has been finalized. Questions over support obligations after years have passed may arise. When circumstances have changed substantially, a parent may no longer be able to afford the current child support order. However, the change in circumstances must meet standards that are recognized under Missouri law for a parent to be able to modify a child support modification.

Unfortunately, some non-custodial parents who may qualify for a modification may decide to just stop paying without seeking a family court order, which can complicate the legal issues.

Similarly, visitation and parenting plan issues may emerge after a divorce. Notably, child support obligations and visitation issues are handled separately in family court.

Each parent owes a duty of support toward his or her children. The amount of support that is owed involves many factors outlined under Missouri law. Parents who are seeking a divorce, or parents who have already gone through divorce and have experienced a substantial change in circumstances (such as a loss of a job or substantial decrease in pay) should consider seeking the guidance of a Missouri family law attorney to learn what legal options may be available.

Similarly, when changes in the needs of a child or the relocation of a parent occur post-divorce, there may be a need to seek post-modification of a parenting plan to meet the new situation. Questions about parenting plans and child support, and enforcement of court orders, can be addressed in many cases years after a divorce in the family court to help protect the rights of parents.

Source: Daily Finance, “What to Do When Your Ex Won’t (or Can’t) Pay Child Support,” Geoff Williams, Nov. 21, 2013