After a court enters a judgment of dissolution or of paternity, the income of one or both parties may change. As a general rule, when the new support amount would vary by 20% (either higher or lower) from the amount the court previously ordered, pursuant to the Missouri Form 14 guidelines, a court will examine the need to modify the level of support currently being paid.
Several factors may affect whether support should be increased, decreased or abate altogether, including modified child custody arrangements, remarriage or cohabitation of a spouse, and what change (if any) has occurred in the amount of income being earned by each party. If either the person paying or receiving support believes that a change in the amount of support being paid is justified, they may file a “motion to modify” with the court and request that a change be made. The person filing the motion has the burden to prove a “substantial and continuing” change in circumstances which would support a court ordered modification in the amount of support being paid.