Kansas City Child Support Attorney

About Missouri Child Support Law

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 (divorce)
  3. As part of a Petition for Declaration of Paternity

The court may order one or both or the parents owing a duty of support to a child to pay for their support. Most often, child support is a monthly payment from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child.

Below you will find information about child support in Missouri, how it is determined or changed, and when it ends. We encourage you to speak with an experienced child support lawyer if you have questions about support.

How Child Support Amount is Determined and Paid

In Missouri, child support payments can be made directly form one parent to another, through the Family Support Payment Center in Jefferson City, Missouri, or 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 parent's expenses such as mortgage payments, rent, car payments, credit card bills and other debts, etc. Monthly gross income 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 parent's 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.

Termination of Child Support: How Long Does Child Support Last? When Does it End?

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 end 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. Read more about child support when a child is in college.Child support an also continue past age eighteen if the child is disabled.

The duty of support continues even though the custodial parent and the child do not live in the same state as the non-residential parent. Also, child support does not automatically terminate, or abate for a period of time, because the child may be residing with the non-custodial parent, or the non-custodial parent does not exercise or is denied visitation. However, after a hearing, the court may abate child support payments in whole or in part for any period of time in excess of 30 days for voluntary relinquishment of custody or denial of visitation if the obligor is current on all payments.

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 changed 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

Consult with an Experienced Missouri Child Support Lawyer

If you need assistance establishing, changing or enforcing a Missouri child support order, contact Kansas City lawyer Mark A. Wortman by calling 816-523-6100, emailing info@mwortmanlaw.com, or completing our online form.

Missouri Child Support for College Students

In Missouri, if a child 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 p… Read More