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Missouri Child Support
Child Support in Missouri
In Missouri, a spouse may file on the issue of child support alone, unlike most states where child support is an issue raised in a divorce, paternity or legal separation case. The wife, the husband or both spouses may be ordered to pay support. The court does not consider marital misconduct.
The financial needs of the child, the parental resources, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the divorce had not happened, work-related child care - all are considered by the court.
A parent may be required to provide health insurance coverage for any children if such coverage is available at a reasonable cost from an employer, union, or other organization.
The child support guidelines contained in the statute, Annotated Missouri Statutes; Title 30, Chapter 452, Sections 340 and 345, are presumed to be correct unless shown to be unjust or inappropriate. The Child Support Worksheet generates an appropriate support obligation based on each spouse's income and other factors, such as taxes paid and retirement contributions.
Once an amount is determined it is essential to take a look at any appropriate Missouri child support deviation factors that may be applicable to the situation.
Missouri immediately withholds child support from wages. The support amount is in the support order. Payments may be made through the circuit clerk.
Missouri uses the Income Shares Model to determine the amount of child support the noncustodial parent must pay. The Income Shares Model estimates the amount of support that would have been available if the marriage had not failed. This estimated amount is then divided proportionally to the parents according to each parent's income. It is easy to do this using the Missouri child support worksheet. Pay records typically substantiate the estimated incomes.
This routine takes into account both parents' gross income and applies a percentage to it based on the number of minor children they have together. The court takes the combined income of both parents and works out the proportion each contributes. That figure is then divided proportionately based on each parent's ability to pay and which parent has primary custody.
If the noncustodial parent has a higher income than the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent would then be responsible for the greater portion of the child support obligation; conversely, if the noncustodial parent has a lower income than the custodial, the noncustodial parent would then be responsible for the smaller portion of the child support obligation.
In Missouri, child support may continue until the child reaches 22 if he or she is trying to finish high school, but support normally ends at 18. Support ends before 18 if the child enters military service, marries or dies. Support also ends if a child becomes financially self-sufficient and no longer under the control of the parent who had been primary caretaker.
Extraordinary medical expenses, childcare, and secondary education support are all extraordinary expenses.
Child Support Enforcement
According to the Missouri Department of Social Services, "[t]he quickest and most effective ways to enforce a child support order are through wage assignments and garnishments. These are orders to employers, banks and others who may owe money to the absent parent to pay the delinquent child support instead of the absent parent. Other methods of enforcement include real estate liens, personal property liens and attachments. These methods are usually more time consuming and, in the case of attachments, may involve large cash deposits to cover sheriff's fees, storage and court costs."
More information about Missouri Child Support Enforcement can be found at their website.
Private school tuition is considered a deviation factor.
Deviation factors and additional information on Missouri child support can be found in the Missouri state statutes.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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