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When we don’t agree do work-related childcare expenses go in the child support calculation?

Missouri uses Supreme Court Rule 88.01 and Civil Procedure Form 14 to calculate child support. Rule 88.01 establishes guidelines for calculating child support payable in divorce, modification, and paternity cases. Civil Procedure Form 14 has calculation steps and includes detailed instructions for how to calculate child support.

Missouri’s courts are obliged to set child support in conformance with Rule 88.01 unless application of the rule in a specific case is determined by the Court, upon evidence presented, to be “unjust or inappropriate.”

Most attorneys wish that calculating child support were as easy as just following the Form 14 calculations. However, every family comes with a unique set of circumstances and because of this those online calculators are not always accurate or reliable.

When we’re talking about work-related childcare expenses, we know that those expenses vary based on age, school year and summer and that these expenses typically decrease as children get older. If you are the paying parent, you don’t want childcare expenses included in the Form 14 because it creates a situation where a modification of child support is going to be necessary. If you are the receiving parent, you might want those expenses included in the Form 14 because you don’t trust the other parent to pay their fair share of work-related childcare expenses. What does the law say?

The law says that if the custodial parent can demonstrate a need for work-related childcare, then the Court must include the requested childcare expenses in the calculation of appropriate child support, as shown by the parties’ Form 14. Watkins v. Watkins, 839 S.W. 2d 745, 749; see also Harrison v. Harrison, 871 S.W. 2d 644,646-647 (Mo. App. S.D. 1994).

What is the best compromise on this issue? Include the childcare expenses in the Form 14 but build in an automatic decrease in the child support in your written agreement so that you don’t have to come back to court to modify child support in the future. For more information contact us at