Failure to include holiday or vacation schedule in parenting plan is trial court error; Voluntary reduction in Income does not support reduction in child support

Recent Case from the Missouri Court of Appeals: Parenting plans must contain holiday and vacation schedules; voluntary reduction in income does not support child support reduction

Mother appeals the trial court’s judgment of modification for a failure to properly apply the law and abusing its discretion in its judgment of modification. Mother contends, in relevant part, that: (1) the trial court erred in its modification because the parenting plan failed to include any holiday or vacation schedule for the minor children as required by statute; (2) the modification failed to properly calculate child support; and (3) the judgment failed to take into account the respondent’s voluntary reduction in income;

Holding: Affirmed in part, Remanded in part

The trial court judgment that considered the particular needs of each child in its modification supported a parenting plan that awarded separate parenting time for each child. Missouri law adjusts the child support amount for overnight visits numbering 36 per year or more, so the trial court did not err in denying an adjustment based on 24 overnight visits per year. In addition, voluntary reduced income caused by the dissipation of one’s own talents, in this case failure to comply with federal employee wage requirements resulting in substantial tax liability and subsequent bankruptcy filing, does not support a reduction in child support.

Missouri law requires the parenting plan to include a schedule of physical custody during enumerated holidays and vacations and omission of that schedule requires a remand back to the trial Court.

WS vs. ME

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District