Clients frequently ask why they are paying child support when they have equal parenting time with their children. It’s a great question and the concept seems logical, but the law is not so simple. While Missouri uses child support guidelines, they assume certain things that are not solely dependent upon parenting time. The assumptions underlying the guidelines are at times seemingly mysterious and arbitrary. The assumptions are based on things your lawyer may refer to as “variable expenditures,” “ duplicated fixed expenditures,” and “non-duplicated fixed expenditures.” To further complicate things there is underlying governmental statistical data that was last updated in 2004 and based on national data, not Missouri data. When we boil it down, even with equal time and equal income, the guidelines will tell us that someone will still usually pay support to the other. You should always discuss your questions about the child support guidelines with your lawyer because like many other things, child support can often be negotiated and different judges may apply the guidelines differently or even decide that the guidelines are not applicable to your situation.