To get the most out of life, a child needs both parents’ support. Sometimes the parents split up, which can put a strain on resources of the parent who the child lives with. Child support laws in Missouri help balance the high cost of raising children. They set out legal obligations for the parents regarding the care and education of their child.
The Process For Child Support After Divorce
Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS), is responsible for administering the Child Support Program throughout the state. The Child Support Program is automatically referred to parents who have received public financial assistance. Other parents not receiving public assistance who want to apply for child support services can do so by filling the form. Then, clicking the “submit” button found on the same page.
Custodial parents have access to the following services:
Locate the other parent using the information in the child support application
The last known address, employer details, telephone number and social security numbers are all useful information. These details are important to the Child Support Program to locate the parent in order to serve a notice regarding the child support request.
This is especially true if the parents did not marry at the time the child was born. If both parents agree that the man fathers the child, the man can sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. He becomes the legal father of their child and his name is on to the birth certificate. If there are doubts about the paternity of the child’s father, parents can request free paternity testing from the Family Support Division.
A court order is issued to the effect that the test results show at least 98% chance of fatherhood. The legal father of the child is the husband for parents who were married at the time the child was born. If the husband is not the legal father of the child the mother and the husband will have to sign the Husband’s Deny of Paternity attached to the Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. For further information on establishing paternity, visit the Missouri Department of Social Service website.
Establishing a child support order is easy after you have confirmed the paternity. The amount is determined when setting up the order.
Revision and modification of orders
You can request a review of an existing support order if there have been significant financial changes. The review will consider the changes and make any necessary adjustments.
How To Receive Child Support
Direct deposit and prepaid cards are available for child support payments. Direct deposit allows child support payments to be electronically put into the parent’s bank account. Custodial parents who want to receive their child support payments via direct deposits can complete an online direct deposit form or they can download a paper form and mail it to PO Box 109006, Jefferson City, Missouri 65110-9006.
Once the Child Support Program processes the payments, the prepaid card will have the payments loaded onto it. You can use the card just like any regular debit card, to withdraw cash or make purchases. Visit the smiONE card page for more details.
The Maximum Amount That Your Family Can Receive
Missouri does not have a formula for determining child support payments. When establishing a child maintenance order in Missouri, they consider many factors. Guidelines for establishing child support orders include the income of each parent, the number of children, healthcare costs, special needs of the child (if applicable), child support obligations of noncustodial parents, and alimony paid or received by each parent. All these factors are taken into consideration and the court determines a reasonable amount of child support to pay. It must cover childcare costs, but not be unfair to the noncustodial parents.
Enforcement of Child Support
Missouri enforces child support in many ways. Enforcement actions are in place when the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support. Enforcement actions include interception and withholding of income, interception of lottery winnings, placement of liens on the property of the defaulting parent as well as suspension of licenses and reports to credit bureaus. The court can also direct the non-custodial parent’s employer to enroll the child into healthcare plans. These are from the parent’s wages. Sometimes, there is contempt of court that charges against the parent, which could lead to imprisonment. Even if the child is no longer under the age of support, the Child Support Program will cancel any outstanding debts. Therefore, all arrears must be paid.