This article provides information about Missouri child support guidelines. Topics include the factors considered when calculating child support, the payment and collection of child support, the consequences of child support non-payment, child support modification, and information about the termination of child support. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney helps ensure the accurate calculation of child support and the protection of your rights as the custodial or non-custodial parent.
Calculating Child Support Payments
The Supreme Court of Missouri established guidelines to estimate child support obligations using the Missouri Form 14 Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet. In most cases, child support in Missouri is determined by using Form 14, although, under certain circumstances, a court may choose to deviate from the guidelines.
Section 452.340.1 RSMo states that the courts will consider various relevant factors when determining the necessary support of a child. These factors include the financial needs of the child, the financial needs and resources of the parents, standards of living, the physical and emotional conditions of the child, educational needs, physical and legal custody arrangements, and work-related childcare expenses.
A general list of some key factors required on Form 14 to calculate child support in Missouri follows:
- Monthly gross income (e.g. salaries, self-employment income, severance pay, social security benefits)
- Adjustments to monthly gross income (e.g. other court/administrative ordered child support and court-ordered maintenance)
- Proportionate share of combined adjusted monthly gross income calculated using monthly gross income and adjustments.
- Basic child support amount selected from a standard support charge.
- Additional child-rearing costs of parents (e.g. reasonable work-related child care costs, health insurance costs)
- Each parent’s support obligation calculated using the total combined child support costs and each parent’s proportionate share of combined adjusted monthly gross income.
- Credit for additional child-rearing costs for the parent paying child support.
- Adjustments for overnight visitations or custody calculated using basic child support amount and a designated percentage.
In cases where the parent obligated to pay child support falls into the state’s lower-income guidelines, additional calculations are necessary to determine child support.
Paying and Collecting Child Support
The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) Family Support Payment Center (FSPC) distributes child support collections received from the parent obligated to pay child support. Child support payments can be set up with the FSPC as employer payroll deduction, automatic bank withdraw, or by direct payment from the parent obligated to pay child support.
Consequences of Child Support Non-Payment
There are consequences if the parent obligated to pay child support fails to make payments, even if the reason for non-payment is due to unauthorized restricted visitation of the child. Consequences may include seizure of income tax refunds, seizure of property, negative credit bureau reports, loss of driver’s license, loss of professional licenses, loss of hunting/fishing license, and jail time.
Custodial parents that do not receive ordered child support should not restrict visitation with the non-custodial parent. Such restrictions can violate a court-ordered custody/visitation agreement and result in consequences that may include the transfer of custody to the other parent.
When Child Support Ends
Child support ends when the child dies, marries, enters active duty in the military, becomes self-supporting, reaches age 18 (with a few exceptions), or reaches age 21 in certain circumstances. Child support may not end when the child turns 18 years of age if; the child is physically or mentally incapacitated or enrolls in a higher school program no later than October 1 following high school graduation. Higher school program attendance must include a minimum of 12 hours each semester until age 21 or graduation (whichever comes first).
Call Day Or Night For An Experienced Family Law Attorney
Attorney Chris Benjamin has handled over 100 bench trials involving family law matters in the State of Missouri. If you have any questions about child support in Missouri, contact attorney Chris Benjamin at KC Road Lawyers by calling 816-738-5725 or navigating to our contact page for a consultation at the firm’s Lee’s Summit or Butler Missouri offices.