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Things to Know About Missouri Child Support Law
Whether you have been ordered to pay child support or are seeking an order for child support, you should have a basic understanding of Missouri child support law. This applies to non-married parents, parents going through a divorce and parents with a legal separation. Missouri family law attorneys can assist you with your child support issues.
This article will explain things you should know about Missouri child support law.
What is Missouri Child Support?
Child support is money that one parent is ordered to provide to another parent to help financially support the raising of a child.
In child support arrangements, both parents may have legal custody of the child. Legal custody is a type of child custody where the parents have the ability to make decisions regarding the child's needs, such as health care and educational decisions.
However, one parent will usually have sole physical custody. This means that the child only lives with one parent. The other parent, known as the non-custodial parent, may have visitation rights but still must pay child support.
In Missouri, child support payments are distributed and collected by the Family Support Payment Center.
Missouri Child Support Courts
You can make a request for child support during your divorce proceedings, your legal separation proceedings or your child custody proceedings. You may also subsequently alter or request child support by filing a motion to modify child support form or a motion to modify child custody and support form with the court.
You will want to file the proper documents with the Missouri Circuit Court for the county in which either you or the other parent resides.
Missouri Child Support Law Factors
According to Missouri child support law, the judge presiding over your case will take into account several factors when determining child support issues. These factors include:
- The financial needs and resources of the child
- The financial needs and resources of the parents
- The physical and emotional condition of the child as well as the child's educational needs
- The child's physical and legal custody arrangements
- The reasonable work-related childcare expenses of each parent
The judge will also review income statements of each parent as well as their child support worksheets.
Altering a Missouri Child Support Order
Under Missouri child support law, only a court can alter or terminate a child support order. Even if you and the parent make an agreement outside of court to alter the child support order, you will still need to appeal to the court to make this agreement legal.
Child support obligations do end after a certain amount of time. These obligations usually automatically end once the child reaches an age between 18 and 21.
Missouri State Child Support Enforcement
Sometimes parents neglect to pay child support despite a court order to do so. In these situations, the other parent may choose to enforce the order. A parent can attempt to enforce an order on her own, with the assistance of a Missouri family law attorney or through the Missouri Family Support Division (FSD). Whether you are seeking child support in Kansas City, St. Louis, Jefferson City or another area of the state, FSD can take action against the nonpaying parent.
FSD has many Missouri State child support enforcement tactics it can deploy, including:
- Garnishing the parent's wages or benefits
- Intercepting federal or state income tax refunds
- Ordering employers to enroll parent's children in health care plans
- Reporting parents to credit bureaus
- Filing liens on personal property
- Intercepting lottery winnings
- Suspending licenses
- Asking the prosecuting attorney to file civil contempt or criminal non-support charges
- Working with other states to collect support if the parent lives outside of Missouri