Missouri Child Support Payment
What Your Missouri Child Support Payment May Be
Do all states follow the same rules to figure child support percentages? No. Missouri child support payment schedules
will be decided by specific Missouri laws.
Missouri child support payment guidelines are designed to be in the best interest of the children. Unless the
parents have a written agreement stating a different amount, as well as a reasonable explanation for the difference,
child support will be based on a percentage of the disposable net income of the parent responsible for support.
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Percentages of net income are used to determine child support amounts in Missouri as outlined below.
Other factors may be considered, including second families, insurance and day care costs.
How is Missouri child support payment determined?
In Missouri both parents have a duty to support their children. In determining the amount of child support, the courts
consider the following factors: the financial needs and resources of the child, the financial resources and needs of the
parents, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not ended, the physical and emotional
condition of the child and the child's educational needs, the child's physical and legal custody arrangements and the reasonable expenses associated with the custody or visitation
arrangements, and the reasonable work-related child care expenses of each parent.
In determining a Missouri child support payment, the court will use the "income shares model" for its calculations. The "income
shares model" is designed to allow the child the same amount of financial support as the parents would have contributed
had the household remained intact. Such a model is for the basic child support obligation, thereby excluding parental
expenditures for child care and the child's share of health insurance premiums.
Child support will also be adjusted in accordance with the percentage of overnight periods that the child spends with
the non-custodial parent.
At what age do child support payments end?
The obligation for Missouri child support payment ends when the child reaches 18 years of age or the child graduates from
high school; whichever occurs later. A child will also automatically be ineligible for child support if that child
marries or is removed from a previous disability status by a court order.
Missouri's custody guidelines:
The parents may agree upon decisions about custody. If there is no agreement, then the courts will make the custody decisions. In Missouri, joint or
sole custody may be awarded based on the best interests of the child.
The court will consider all relevant factors,
including: the parents' proposed parenting skills and proposed custody schedule when submitted to the court, the child's
need to maintain frequent and meaningful relationships with both parents, the parent's ability and willingness to perform
their parental role, the interaction between the child and the parents, siblings and any other person who may
significantly affect the child's best interests, which of the parents is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent, the
child's adjustment to the home, school and community, the intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence
of the child, the child's preference regarding who will be their custodian, and the mental and physical health of all
In all custody cases involving domestic violence, custody and visitation rights will be ordered in a manner that best
protects the child and the parent who is the victim of domestic violence from any further harm.
In making the custody decision, no preference is given based on a parent's age, sex or financial status, or the child's
age or sex. The courts have a preference of joint custody. In all instances a parenting plan is required to be included
in a decree of dissolution.
If a history of abuse toward the child is proven, that parent may lose certain custody rights at least temporarily.
A parent who is not granted custody is entitled to reasonable visitation.
Missouri's medical insurance guidelines:
The decision as to which parent is going to provide medical insurance coverage for the child and how medical bills will
be paid is set out in the marital settlement agreement. If these decisions have not been addressed, then the Missouri
courts my order a parent to provide health insurance coverage for the child, if this coverage is available at a
reasonable cost through an employer, union or other organization.
How permanent are the provisions for Missouri child support payments and custody ?
Court orders providing for support and custody of children are subject to change or modification in the event of
substantial and continuing changes in circumstances.
Wage garnishment for Missouri child support payments:
Missouri has a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to
provide support. It is withheld much like income tax is withheld from earnings payments.
If a non-custodial parent can show that they are providing more than 50 percent of the support for dependents not
included in the court order from a second marriage, and is not in arrears, no more than 50% of their disposable income
can be attached if they cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders.
That number goes to 55% if the non-custodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to
dependents under the current order, and 65% for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.
How does a joint custody agreement work?
Parents are encouraged to work together for the best interests of their children. Joint legal and physical custody are
now widely recognized by parents, courts and state legislatures as the preferred parenting plan for divorcing parents.
The Missouri courts encourage both joint legal and physical custody.
Joint legal custody is a form of custody of minor children that requires both parents to share the responsibilities for
the health, education and welfare of the children, and for both parents to approve all major decisions related to the
Usually, one parent is named as the sole physical custodian, and the other parent is granted visitation.
However, as indicated above, there is a preference for "joint physical custody" even if it is not on a 50-50 basis.
How Missouri determines child visitation:
Parents are free to visit with their children at all times that are mutually agreed to by both parents. However, when
parents cannot agree, the standard visitation schedule accepted most everywhere in the nation is: every other weekend,
four to six weeks during the summer, and alternating holidays.
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