Child Support in Missouri Explained

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Child Support in Missouri Explained

iStock_000021832919XSmallChild support in Missouri can be a complex and frustrating process for parents (as well as many attorneys). The current system has a number of quirks and a number of flaws, which makes it a tricky transition for parents who are just starting out in the world of single parenthood.

How is Child Support Put in Place?

In Missouri, there are two methods by which child support is put in place. Support can either be established administratively through the State or it can be established through the Court system. Either of these routes can be effective. However, a Court Order will take precedence over an Administrative Order, and some parents choose to start in the Court system for that reason.

Administrative Child Support

Going through the State can be a cheaper and quicker process when setting up child support. Parents contact the Division of Family Services or Child Support Enforcement and request that a support order be established. The parties will then acknowledge who the Father is, assuming that information is known, and the State will start the process. Both parents will then submit evidence of wages and child expenses and a support number will be determined. If either parent is unhappy with the amount, then they can request a phone hearing and a ruling will be made. However, it is important to note that the paying party does not get any credit for custody time when support is determined administratively.

Court-Ordered Child Support

A Court case on the other hand will give the paying party overnight credit for the number of nights a year the child spends with them. Support through the Court system often goes hand in hand with a custody case. A number of different avenues can reach a support order, whether it be divorce, legal separation, paternity, a petition for custody and support, or an order of protection. Many parents choose to take this route as it can resolve other issues along with child support.

A Competent Missouri Child Support Lawyer Can Help Your Situation

If you are choosing to establish child support through either method, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney who can explain the details of the system. Child support can be critical to a single parent’s livelihood, and an attorney can help maximize or minimize the amount of support paid depending on your circumstances.

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