Summer Support: Do I Have To Pay Child Support During Summer Vacation, Too?

By William Halaz, III

Attorney, Cordell & Cordell, P.C.

For many single parents, the summer means extended visitation with their children. Often parents who only see their sons or daughters once a week and every other weekend are now able to spend two, four or even six weeks at a time with their kids. There are vacations to the beach, the lake, or in the recent economic climate the increasingly popular “stay-cation.”

This time can be the most useful time to continue developing a relationship with your kids, but it also comes at a price. Vacations aren’t cheap, and even if you simply relax in the comforts of your own home, the sudden onslaught of a teenage appetite on your pantry can be significant to say the least. There’s now another mouth to feed, another person using the utilities, and the expense of running your child all around town. You have budgeted around your child support payments for the whole year, and now it seems like you are paying double. Is there any remedy for your added efforts and expenses?

Unfortunately for most parents it is unlikely, but there are some ways to ensure you’re not paying double during the summer months.

If you live in Missouri or another state which uses a similar system, your child support was likely based in part on something called a Form 14. One section of the Form 14 takes into account visitation credits. This reduces the amount of support you pay throughout the year based on the number of overnight visits you will amass in a twelve-month period. When calculating this amount, it is important that your attorney take into account the extended periods of visitation over the summer. Let’s look at an example of how this might play out:

Joe was divorced this past fall. Due to Joe’s work schedule though, he was unable to have overnight visitation for more than every Wednesday and two nights every other weekend. Joe’s attorney correctly calculates that under this schedule, Joe will amass 104 overnight visits. Every summer though, Joe takes a two-week vacation to go camping and fishing with his children. All things being equal, Joe now has 114 overnight visits. Although this may seem like a minor difference, according to Missouri’s Form 14, it’s the difference between a 10% visitation credit and a 21% visitation credit.

The theory behind visitation credits is that instead of giving your ex money to reimburse them for the expense of taking care of the child, you are now the one spending the money to care for your kids. It is for this reason that child support does not abate, or stop, while you have these extended periods of visitation.

Child support may abate during a summer custody period, however, if the visitation was not awarded in the parenting plan. For instance:

Fifteen years ago, Robert and Deborah had a child together in Missouri. At the time of the custody battle, Robert was also battling a drug addiction. Consequently Martha was awarded sole legal and physical custody. Over time, Robert conquered his addiction and Martha began allowing their son, Sam, to visit him. This year, Martha has agreed to allow Sam to use a month of his summer vacation to have an extended visit with his father. Robert now may have an argument for abatement of child support during this summer period.

Under RSMO 452.340.2, the obligation of a parent ordered to pay support shall abate, in whole or in part, during a time period longer than 30 consecutive days that the other parent voluntarily relinquishes physical custody of the child to the paying parent, notwithstanding any periods of visitation or custody pursuant to a judgment or modification.

As you can tell from the statute, this applies to very specific instances. First, you must have custody for at least 31 consecutive days. Although many of you who read this may think this is an impossibility it may be relatively easy compared to the second element; these days cannot include days that you were awarded in your judgment. Therefore, if you have been awarded six weeks of visitation over the summer, the fact that you exercise that visitation consecutively will not stop your child support payments.

Even if you haven’t been awarded such a length of time in your judgment, but you were awarded at least one day per month and it is always on the first (choose your day) of the month, this law will likely not apply. If, however, you think this law, or one similar to it in your State, may apply, you should speak with your attorney to determine whether this law applies to you and how you can have you payments stopped or withheld during this time prior withholding payment on your own.

 

William Halaz, III is a Staff Attorney in the Arnold, Missouri office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. Mr. Halaz is licensed to practice in the state of Missouri. Mr. Halaz received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Southeast Missouri State University. Then continuing his education, received his Juris Doctor from St. Louis University’s School of Law.

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70 Comments on "Summer Support: Do I Have To Pay Child Support During Summer Vacation, Too?"

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Ms. Bucks
3 months 16 days ago

My son-in-law have a 10 yr. old,and he pays child support yearly. He has his son during the summer months,along with extra expenses while he’s there. Will he still have to pay child support to his son’s mother while the son is with him?

Raegall
5 months 10 days ago
Wow, fortunately my ex husband and I divorced mutually and we get along better now then when we were married. I think part of the reason is because when i filed support (yes ex Husband was angry at the time) i didn’t try to take every penny from him out of his pay and i haven’t, in 8 years, go take him back for increases every other month or year. Fathers need to be able to afford rent, mortgage, fuel, and bills also. If they cant afford these necessities because they have little left out of their pay after support,… Read more »
ks71083
2 months 26 days ago
Good afternoon but I disagree, I’m a single mother and I need a two bedroom to raise my son. I was told that child support pays for the roof, food and clothing. Just because my son is with his father for a month does not mean my rent does not need to be paid. Also my son does not go to his father’s naked, I provide clothes. The only thing he will have to provide the month he is with his son is food which he would provide on everything weekend visits or weekly visits etc.. Now if I feel… Read more »
Rudy
1 month 13 days ago

Then maybe you should get a job 😉

Ms. Bucks
3 months 16 days ago
@ Ragall,I totally agree with you 100%. My daughter is experiencing this same thing right now. Her husband’s son has been coming for the summer for the past 4 years,and the support has still been going to the mother for her personal use. The child comes to them with clothes that are too small for him,or big shaggy clothes belonging to his older brothers. Today my daughter said enough is passed ENOUGH! She contacted child support concerning this matter. Support is for the expenses of that child,and should be used for those purposes. But when the child’s mother uses it… Read more »
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9 months 18 days ago

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brad
1 year 2 months ago

if my decree in Arkansas states “during the separate 15 day periods, child support shall abate by one half” then what does that mean exactly? if pay $412 a month in support, do I then only pay $206 since I have him half the month and it states it abates by 1/2? or does it mean that it abates by one half for that 15 days time frame, so I still pay $309 total for the month? this is vague to me and I dont know what way is correct.

Bill
1 year 3 months ago
Ok here’s my problem. I pay my shild support every week. I cover the Insurence on the children. I see the kids every other weekend and on Wednesdays. I get my kids 1 month out of the summer which most of the time I schedule my vacation around that time. How is it right to send there mother money to take care of them when I’m already doing so. Her annual income is a lot more then mine and when u add the almost 10k a year I send her it puts her almost at 6 figures a year. Honestly… Read more »
1 year 3 months ago

My fiancés ex has custody of their son. He’s 13. There is no court order for custody or support ist simply an agreement. He pays $600 a month in child support. She asked if the son could live with us during the summer per the child’s request. We agreed. However I dont feel it’s fair that we still pay support while he resides with us. And I do feel she should have to pay us just as we do while he resides with her. Is this possible or a pointless argument?

ar
1 year 3 months ago
Some people seem to have commented without reading the article. It clearly states that your child support is calculated according to your percentage of time for the whole year, then broken down into payments throughout the year. So if you are paying $7200 a year that’s $600 a month. No matter if your time is broken down to weekends or you only get the summer which is two months straight. If you don’t want to actually pay those two months then you could have it court ordered that you pay $720 for 10 out of the 12 months, but you… Read more »
D
1 year 4 months ago

Well, I guess when the mother is the one that is paying child support the same rules don’t apply. I live in Florida and my ex-wife doesn’t pay child support for summer visits with our daughter…..the judge ordered that about two years ago. Can someone say double standard???????

Di
1 year 6 months ago
My son-in-law lives in Tn. his ex lives in Ma. they have one child, he pays her child support every month and he gets to have the child every 2 months and she has the child every 2 months. My question is, why does he have to pay her child support when he has his own child for the 2 months and he has to pay to fly the child back to Ma. I really don’t think this sounds right, anyone with an answer please help. They both went to court and the judge set this up. Thanks
s.
1 year 6 months ago

if the child is away from the custodial parent for a time lets say like 3 months, then the custodial parent should not receive child support for the duration. The child or children are going to want to go out for dinner, the movies, ice cream, etc. all that costs money. I pay bills and car payments and child support…im broke majority of the time. You custodial parent sympathizers think im going to continue paying while hes with me for the summer…Hell No.

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