When a married couple goes through divorce with children, one parent is often required to pay child support. Child support rules in Missouri can be complicated, and negotiating child support payments is just one difficult part of the divorce process. There are a lot of questions regarding child support, and we’re here to give you a breakdown of what you need to know about child support in Missouri. 

child custody

How is Child Support Determined in Missouri?

The amount of child support one parent is ordered to pay depends on where they fall on a chart called the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations. It adds together the parent’s combined annual gross income and the number of children to determine the monthly payment amount. The Schedule of Basic Obligations includes several types of income, including salary, bonuses, government benefits, and more. 

 In certain circumstances, the court can take other factors into account. For example, the child support amount can be changed if one or both parents’ expenses include child care, medical costs, or travel costs. Additionally, the parent paying child support can agree to a higher amount than that determined on Missouri’s Schedule of Basic Obligations chart.  If the non-custodial parent refuses to work or avoids payment in other ways, then Missouri court can order a payment amount based on what that parent should be making

Missouri Child Support Enforcement

As a division of the Missouri Department of Social Services, Child Support Enforcement is in charge of making sure child support payments are made. If a parent fails to make payments, the other parent can contact Child Support Enforcement to withhold the payment from the payor’s paycheck. A person behind on child support can face property liens, Contempt of Court charges, or withheld tax refunds. There are a variety of other techniques that can be implemented to ensure payment, and a lawyer can help you understand which enforcement techniques you can pursue. 

Child Custody in Missouri

Child custody agreements go hand in hand with child support. In some cases, custody is split evenly between both parents. In those cases, payment amounts are determined by each parent’s income and a few other factors. Other times, however, a child spends more time with one parent than the other. The custodial parent cares for the child or children the majority of the time, meaning they are the one to receive child support payments. The non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent to pay for the child’s necessities while in the other parent’s care. Missouri takes the child’s wishes into consideration when determining child custody arrangements. 

How long does a parent pay child support in Missouri?

Missouri has strict rules for the length of time a parent is required to pay child support. Child support must continue until the child turns 18 years old and isn’t enrolled in higher education. If enrolled, payments continue until the child turns 21. Other circumstances, such as military enrollment or marriage, will put an end to mandatory payments. 

Child Support Attorneys in Missouri

Do you have questions about your child support order? You need a child support lawyer you can trust – one that knows Missouri law and has the experience necessary to stand up for your rights. At Mark Harford Law, we have supported clients in Missouri for years with child support and child custody cases. If you want to go over your case with a member of our law team, contact Mark Harford Law to schedule a consultation.