The areas of child support establishment, collection and termination are perhaps the most frequently litigated areas of family law in Missouri.
Child support in Missouri can be awarded to the custodial parent or to a parent sharing equal custody time with the other parent in certain circumstances. The order for child support can be established either through an order and judgment of your family court judge or administratively through the Missouri Division Of Family Services. A qualified Missouri family law attorney can be vital in assisting either party in establishing the correct amount of child support.
The amount of child support is established pursuant to guidelines outlined in Missouri Supreme Court Rule 88.01. Missouri Civil Procedure Form No. 14 sets forth a worksheet which is used to establish the legally presumed amount of child support to be paid by one parent to the other. Factors used in the worksheet include, but are not limited to, the respective monthly gross income levels of each parent, the number of children, the cost of daycare and health insurance and the amount of overnight custody time the children have with each parent.
Once a child support order is established it can be taken straight from the paying parent wages via a wage withholding and paid directly to the receiving parent or to the Missouri Family Support Payment Center as trustee for the receiving parent. The Missouri Family Support Payment Center, located in Jefferson City Missouri, was established to centralize the collection and disbursement of child support payments in Missouri. It can be used as a tool for both parents and employers to verify that child support payments have been made in accordance with the terms of either an administrative or court order.
Once a child support amount is established it is subject to modification (or change) in circumstances where a substantial and continuing change in the financial circumstances of either parent can be shown. A prima facia case to modify the child support amount may be if a recalculation of the child support amount through the use of Missouri Civil Procedure Form No. 14 results in at least a 20% change from the existing child support amount.
In Missouri, a parent’s obligation to pay child support generally will continue until the child’s 18th birthday or completion of high school whichever occurs later, so long as the child continues to make progress towards the completion of his high school degree. But, the child support obligation can continue to the age of 21 in circumstances where the child enrolls in a post-secondary education program ( i.e. college or trade school) by October 1 after his completion of high school and meets specific educational requirements that demonstrates progress towards the completion of that degree. In certain circumstances where the child is unmarried, insolvent and physically or mentally incapacitated and incapable of becoming self-supporting, child support may continue beyond his 21st birthday.
The preceding information is purely general in nature and is not intended to be advice for your specific situation. For a much more specific discussion on the legal specifics involved in establishing or modifying child support, collecting or terminating child support we encourage you to visit our blog at St. Charles Divorce Lawyer Blog.com. We encourage prospective, existing and former clients to sign up to receive our regular blog updates. You can do so by submitting your email address on the prompt on the left side of our blog pages.
Having qualified legal representation at all stages of your child support matter is critical to your financial future and that of your family. Contact our office today for a consultation regarding family law issues.