Family MO HealthNet (MAGI) Manual – Table of Contents

1805.030.10.20.05 JOINT CUSTODY

IM# 120 September 11, 2017, IM# 45 May 12, 2017IM# 82 December 6, 2016

True joint 50/50 custody occurs when the child(ren) spend an equal number of overnight visits with each parent. Per Missouri Rule 13 CSR 40-7.010 the non-custodial parent is defined as the parent who does not have physical custody of the child.

The parent with whom the child spends more than 50% of their overnight visits with is considered to be the parent exercising the majority of the child’s care and control and therefore is the custodial parent regardless of tax filing status.

NOTE: 42 CFR 435.4 provides that parents must reside in the home of the eligible child(ren) in order for the parent to be eligible for MAGI MO HealthNet for Families (MHF).

NOTE: Parents who claim the child(ren) as a tax dependent but do not practice true 50/50 joint custody (they have the child(ren) less than 50% of the time) are not eligible for MHF due to ineligible living arrangements.

EXAMPLE:  John and Linda have a divorce decree stating they have joint physical custody of their child, Lauren. John claims Lauren as a tax dependent on his taxes. Linda applied for benefits on Lauren. Linda states she has Lauren more than 50% of the time. Linda provided a revised parenting plan, signed by John and Linda, which states Lauren stays with Linda 4 nights per week. Lauren is physically with Linda more than she is with John, therefore Linda may apply for benefits for Lauren.

The custodial parent must carry health care coverage for the child. The custodial parent is the parent that applies for MO HealthNet (MHN) benefits.

EXAMPLE:  Mom and dad exercise true 50/50 joint custody, dad claims the child as a tax dependent each year and must carry coverage for the child. Mom is a tax filer but does not claim any dependents and does not have any other household members. Mom applies for MHF coverage on herself and reports the child in her home 50% of the time. Mom does not qualify for MHF because she is the non-custodial parent. The mom’s household size is one: herself. The child’s household size is two: the child and dad.

If the custodial parent is in question, follow the steps below to determine which parent is considered the custodial parent for the purpose of making a MHN application.

      1. Determine which parent intends to claim the child(ren) as a tax dependent.
        • When the custodial parent cannot be determined by the tax filing status continue to step 2 of this section.
      2. Review court orders, legally binding separation orders, divorce decrees, parenting plans, and/or custody agreements to determine which parent is the custodial parent.
        • If the custodial parent cannot be determined by steps 1 or 2 of this section, continue to step 3.
      3. Determine which parent the child(ren) expects to spend more overnight visits with during the period for which eligibility is being determined.

        NOTE: It may be necessary to count the overnight stays with each parent to determine where the child is more often.

        • When the custodial parent cannot be determined by steps 1, 2 or 3, continue to step 4 of this section.
      4. When steps 1-3 of this section do not determine who the custodial parent is, the first parent to apply for MHN benefits is considered the custodial parent for the purpose of the MHN application.

        NOTE: It may be necessary to count the overnight stays with each parent to determine where the child is more often.

        • If step 4 does not solve who the custodial parent is, move to step 5.
      5. Determine which parent has the higher MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income), The parent with the higher MAGI is considered the custodial parent for MHN purposes and is the parent that can apply/receive MHN benefits on behalf of the child(ren).If both parents are tax filers, and true 50/50 joint custody is practiced, count the child in the household of the parent with the higher adjusted gross income.

        NOTE: If the parents alternate each year claiming the children as part of their tax filing household, the non-custodial parent is considered the parent who does not plan to claim the child as a tax dependent for the period MHN benefits are being requested. The parents must alternate years they each apply for MHN for the child.

Refer to the Household Composition Flow Chart to help determine household composition.