Rule that a 20% change in child support amount grounds to modify does not apply if original amount was agreed deviation from Form 14
Recent Case: Party seeking modification of previous agreed order must show that they cannot support the child in the manner contemplated at the time of the agreement. 20% rule does not apply.
In a recent case from the Missouri Court of Appeals, Father appeals the judgment of the Court rejecting the Family Support Division’s proposed modification of the support amount. The previous judgment for child support included an agreed amount for child support. The parties considered the Form 14 child support amount, but rejected it in favor of their agreed amount. Subsequently Father tried to reduce the child support by administrative modification.
There is a general rule in Missouri that states that if a new Form 14 calculation of child support would result in a 20% or greater change in the support amount, then the burden of proof for modification (substantial and continuing change in circumstances) is met. However, this rule only applies if the original child support amount was the Form 14 amount, and not a different, agreed amount. For modification of a previous agreed amount, the burden of proof is much higher, and the moving party must prove that he/she is not able to support the child in the same manner contemplated at the time of the previous agreement, not that a 20% change has occurred.
For this reason, the judgment of the trial Court denying the proposed modification was upheld.
Missouri Court of Appeals
Filed October 14, 2014