St. Louis Child Support Attorney
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In most states, child support is an issue that can only be raised in the midst of a divorce, a paternity case, or a legal separation. In Missouri, the issue of child support can be decided separately.
The court typically will look at the following factors when determining child support:
- The needs of the child
- The child's former standard of living
- The parents' resources
- The costs of work-related childcare
Parents also may be asked to provide health coverage for their children if the coverage is not available at a reasonable cost from an employer, a union, or another organization.
If you have questions, we encourage you to request a free consultation.
Child Support Guidelines in Missouri
Child support guidelines in Missouri determine the amount of child support that a parent must pay based on both parents' gross income. Once the state determines an amount, you should look carefully at any “deviation factors” that apply to your situation. An example of a deviation factor is private school tuition. Missouri calculates child support using a device called the "Form 14."
This takes both parents' gross income into account and applies a formula based on several factors, including:
- The number of children each parent has
- The number of overnights the paying parent has with the child
The Missouri courts take the combined income of the parents and determine the proportion that each parent contributes to the financial care of the child. The courts then divide the income proportionately based on each parent's ability to pay and who has primary custody of the child. Typically, if the non-custodial parent has a higher income than the custodial parent, the obligation for child support will be higher. If you are working through a child support case, a St. Louis family law attorney at The Buxner Law Firm can help. Additionally, we can help with modifications should you need to alter your support arrangement.
What if the other parent refuses to pay?
If your former spouse has refused to uphold their child support obligations, you are not without options. Missouri’s Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) is a resource for custodial parents who are unable to locate the other parent and/or collect the child support they are due. When you get in touch with a St. Louis child support lawyer at The Buxner Law Firm, we can help you take steps to enforce your court order.
Don’t let your child suffer any longer; contact our office today to learn more about your options.
Can I modify my child support arrangement?
Whether you are paying or receiving child support, there may come a time when it will be necessary to modify the existing order. If you have experienced a significant loss of income or you are now supporting another child, for example, your child support arrangement should reflect these changes through a modification. However, the family court may only grant your request if you can prove that there have been substantial and continuing changes to the financial factors originally used to determine the existing child support amount.
Some of these “significant and lasting changes” may include:
- The paying parent experiencing a significant loss of income
- One parent developing a serious or permanent medical condition
- The paying parent having additional children they need to support
- The receiving parent experiencing a substantial increase in income
- Significant changes in daycare or medical insurance costs
- The child is no longer entitled to child support (i.e. adulthood)
It is important to understand that the family courts in Missouri will only consider the change to be “significant” if it results in a 20% increase or decrease to the original child support determination.
Caring & Dedicated Divorce Attorneys in St. Louis
Don't hesitate to contact a family law attorney at The Buxner Law Firm today to help you with your case and assist you in getting the representation that you need. The experienced and communicative divorce lawyers at our firm are focused on keeping your goals in mind and doing things right the first time.
Call our firm today to learn more about how we can help you!