Kansas City Lawyer
Kansas City Child Support Attorney  
Law Offices of
Mark A. Wortman
9229 Ward Parkway
Suite 255
Kansas City
Missouri 64114
Tel (816) 523-6100
Fax (816) 523-6106
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Kansas City Child Support Attorney

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In Missouri, actions for child support usually arise in one of three ways:

1) Upon administrative action brought by either parent before the Division of Family Services or by the Division of Family Services

2) Pursuant to Dissolution of Marriage;

3) As part of a Petition for Declaration of Paternity


How Child Support amount is determined

Child support is usually a monthly payment from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child. Payments can be made directly form one parent to another, or through the Family Support Payment Center in Jefferson City, Missouri, and may also be made by employer wage deduction. The amount of Support is calculated pursuant to Missouri Rule 88 and Form 14, which is basically a formula that figures child support based on the incomes of the parties and other factors. The Form 14 calculation includes the following:

  • Monthly gross income. This means income before taxes and deductions, and does not take into consideration a parents expenses such as mortgage payments, rent, car payments, credit card bills and other debts, etc. Monthly gross generally includes income from all sources.
  • Other child support payments being made
  • Court ordered maintenance being paid or received
  • Support obligation for other children in parents primary physical custody
  • Child care (daycare) costs if work related
  • Health insurance costs
  • Uninsured extraordinary medical costs
  • Extraordinary non-medical costs, such as post-secondary educational expenses and private school expenses
  • Extracurricular activities in some circumstances
  • Credit for periods of overnight visitation or custody

Most of the time, the Court will order the amount of child support calculated by the Form 14 (the presumed amount), but the parties can change the presumed amount by agreement, or the Court may find that the presumed amount is unjust or inappropriate and order a different amount. In order for the Court to change the child support amount from the presumed amount, the court must consider all relevant factors, including statutory and other factors.

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Termination of child support

Unless the circumstances of the child manifestly dictate otherwise and the court specifically so provides, the obligation of a parent to make child support payments shall terminate when the child:

  • Dies;
  • Marries;
  • Enters active duty in the military;
  • Becomes self-supporting, provided that the custodial parent has relinquished the child from parental control by express or implied consent;
  • Reaches age eighteen, unless the child is enrolled in and attending high school or enrolls in an institution of post-secondary education (college or vocational education) by October 1 of the year in which the child graduates from high school.  See below for details regarding the continuation of child support after graduation from high school. Child support an also continue past age eighteen if the child is disabled.
Requirements for the continuation of child support while the child attends college

If the child is enrolls in an institution of vocational or higher education by October first following graduation from high school (or completion of a GED program), the obligation for child support can continue until the child completes the program or turns 21, whichever occurs first. However, the child must enroll for and complete at least twelve hours of credit each semester, not including the summer semester, and achieve grades sufficient to reenroll.

A child who is employed at least fifteen hours per week during the semester may take as few as nine credit hours per semester and remain eligible for child support so long as all other requirements are met. Also, a child who has been diagnosed with a developmental disability, or whose physical disability or diagnosed health problem limits the child's ability to carry the required number of credit hours, shall remain eligible for child support so long as such child is enrolled in and attending an institution of vocational or higher education, and the child continues to meet the other requirements discussed here.

To remain eligible for continued child support, at the beginning of each semester the child shall submit to each parent a transcript or similar official document provided by the institution of vocational or higher education which includes the courses the child is enrolled in and has completed for each term, the grades and credits received for each such course, and an official document from the institution listing the courses which the child is enrolled in for the upcoming term and the number of credits for each such course. If the child fails to comply with this requirement, the child support does not necessarily terminate, but the paying parent can move the court for an abatement for the semester where the requirement was not met. However, if the non-custodial parent makes a formal request for the required documents, and the child fails to produce them within 30 days, the child support may then terminate without the accrual of a child support arrearage, and the child support will not be eligible for reinstatement. Also, the child or parent obligated to pay support may petition the court to amend the order to direct the obligated parent to make the payments directly to the child.

Under the law, an "institution of vocational education" means any postsecondary training or schooling for which the student is assessed a fee and attends classes regularly. "Higher education" means any community college, college, or university at which the child attends classes regularly.

Note that no modification or termination of child support is automatic, and in order to modify or terminate a child support obligation the requesting party must file a motion with the Court.

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Modification of Child Support Amount

Orders for child support are always modifiable. Administrative orders for child support are periodically reviewed for modification. However, either parent may seek to have the administrative order judicially modified at any time if grounds exist to do so. If the order is pursuant to dissolution of marriage, Declaration of paternity, or other judicial order, the child support order may be modified by either parent if the moving party can demonstrate a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, which may include one or more of the following

  • If a new Form 14 calculation will result in a 20% change in support liability
  • Changes in financial condition of the parties of a substantial and continuing nature
  • Financial needs of the children, including educational expenses, cost of food and clothing, transportation needs, increased recreation, medical expenses and similar factors.
  • Emancipation of the children
  • Death of the child or either parent.
  • Modification by agreement 

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