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Do You Have to Pay Child Support If You Have 50/50 Custody in Missouri?

If you have 50/50 custody with your co-parent in Missouri, it is possible that you will still have to pay child support. There is nothing in state law that prohibits the court from awarding child support—even when both spouses share equal parenting time.

When possible, judges in Missouri will award parents 50/50 custody. While this makes it possible for the parents to each get their fair share of time, it does not erase the possibility of an award of child support.

If you are facing a potential child support dispute, now is the right time to seek out legal counsel. The J. Rench Law Firm, LLC could help you understand your rights and enforce them during your custody or support case. Reach out as soon as possible for your free consultation.


What is 50/50 Custody in Missouri?

Not all states provide for 50/50 custody, but Missouri law has adopted such a law. However, there are many misconceptions about what a 50/50 custody arrangement means for the parents and their children.

The important thing to understand about 50/50 custody is that the law presumes it is in the best interest of the child for each parent to share time equally with their children. This is important, as any decision the court makes regarding visitation or custody must be made with the child’s best interests in mind.

Under the law, a presumption means that by default the courts will lean toward splitting custody evenly instead of favoring the father or the mother. The common misconception is the belief that this law requires even parenting time in every situation. That is not the case.

The presumption that it is in the best interest of the child for both parents should share custody can be rebutted. If there is a history of abuse or evidence that one parent is unfit to care for a minor child, the court might decide against 50/50 custody.

Is Child Support Awarded in 50/50 Custody Cases in Missouri?

There is nothing in the law that prohibits a judge from ordering child support in a case with 50/50 custody. In fact, child support awards in these cases are common. However, the awards in these cases are not based on which parent has the child the most, given that they share time equally. Instead, the award is usually based on which parent makes less money.


How is Child Support Determined?

In a 50/50 child custody case, child support issues begin with the court evaluating how much money each parent makes. Since parenting time is even in these cases, the court must consider other factors like the resources each parent can offer the child.

While the amount of time each parent spends with a child is a factor in child support awards, it is one of many. These other factors could determine when child support is necessary in a 50/50 custody case. Some of these factors include:

  • The financial resources and needs of the minor child,
  • The financial resources and needs of the parent,
  • The emotional needs of the child
  • The physical needs of the child
  • Work-related expenses of each parent

It should be noted that while the court has the power to order child support in a 50/50 custody case, it does not have an obligation to do so. There are times when a judge will determine that financial support is not necessary.


Contact the J. Rench Law Firm, LLC For Your Custody Case in Missouri

There are many benefits that come with 50/50 custody relations, both for parents and children alike. However, this shared custody arrangement does not automatically eliminate the need for financial support. It could be possible for the judge to award child support to one parent even though they split the parenting time of their minor child.

The J. Rench Law Firm, LLC is ready to assist you with your child support issues. If you are ready to discuss your options, schedule your initial consultation with our firm as soon as possible.

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