Each parent has the obligation to support their children financially. The court will usually order the parent without primary physical custody of the children to pay the parent with primary physical custody of the children a monthly child support amount.
If you are the parent with the majority of the physical custody of your children, the receipt of child support can be one of the most important matters involved in your divorce proceedings since timely child support payments can ensure that you will have the financial means to assure the well-being of your children, which are your greatest responsibility.
If you are the parent who is to pay child support, it is important that child support is correctly calculated so that you have the financial means to provide for your children when they are in your household.
Child Support Orders
Child support orders can have some of the most far-reaching effects of all the matters that will be finalized during your divorce. Child support payments in the State of Missouri may terminate based upon the child obtaining a certain age or may terminate based upon other factors. In many cases child support may terminate when the child reaches the age of 18 years of age, but child support may last longer if the child is attending secondary school or if the child is timely enrolled in and attending an institution of vocational or higher education.
Therefore, depending on the timing of the child’s birth and the date of the judgment for child support, a parent could potentially end up paying child support to the other parent for over two decades. Due to these lengths of time and the amounts of money that you can end up paying out over the course of a child support order, it is in the best interest of each party involved in the matter to have an experienced family law attorney on their side during these proceedings. It is easier to get it right the first time than it is to go back to attempt to change a child support order at a later date.
Calculating Child Support
In Missouri, there is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support calculated pursuant to Form 14 is the correct amount of child support. In the majority of cases, the court will determine child support based upon the amount calculated in Form 14. The Form 14 is basically a formula that calculates child support based upon the income of the parties as well as other factors. The Form 14 calculation includes the following:
Monthly gross income. This is income before taxes and deductions. This generally includes income from all sources.
Other child support payments being paid.
Court ordered maintenance being paid or received.
Support obligation for other children primarily residing with a parent.
Childcare costs that are work-related.
Health insurance costs.
Uninsured extraordinary medical costs.
Extraordinary, child-rearing costs.
Credit for period of overnight visitation or custody.
The number of children
The court may adopt a child support amount that is agreed to by the parties that is different than the child support amount on Form 14. If the court finds that the presumed amount of child support in Form 14 is unjust or inappropriate after considering all relevant factors, then the court may enter a child support amount that is different than the amount on Form 14. However, in many cases the court will order the child support calculated in Form 14.
Termination of Child Support
Unless the circumstances of the child clearly requires otherwise and the court specifically so provides, the majority of the time the obligation of a parent to make child support payments shall terminate when the child:
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; or
Reaches a specified age, with certain exceptions as provided in Missouri Statutes.
Modifying a Child Support Order
Similar to spousal support, if the financial situation of the parents or children changes, a party may file a motion to modify with the court to amend the child support order accordingly. These motions can often become contentious issues between the parents, and it is always a good idea to consider retaining an experienced attorney.
The Galmiche Law Firm: Your Knowledgeable Child Support Attorney
The Galmiche Law Firm has helped many local St. Louis area parents with the stressful and often contested matter of establishing, terminating, modifying or collecting upon child support orders, and we are standing by to help you. Schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation to discuss your rights and options. We can be reached at (636) 532-2300 or click here.