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Obtaining child support in Missouri

The court or Missouri Family Support Division will usually issue an order for child support as part of a divorce proceeding or paternity hearing. If no such order accompanied the judgment, the custodial parent may be able to apply for a modification of the judgment to include child support payments. The total amount of child support that the custodial parent will receive depends on many factors, including both parents' income, maintenance paid by one parent, the amount of time the children spend overnight with each parent, the number of children, and the costs of health insurance and work-related childcare.

The parent receiving child support should always remember that denying court-ordered visitation rights without good cause can result in a reduction of child support payments. The law also allows for an abatement of child support payments if the custodial parent transfers physical custody to the parent paying support.

If separated parents have not filed for divorce or legal separation, the one with physical custody of the child may be able to apply for child support through the Missouri Family Support Division. The court is unable to order child support awards without a legal separation or dissolution of marriage.

When filing for child support or trying to enforce a current child support order, the parent with physical custody of the child can go through either the Missouri Family Support Division or the court to seek the order, depending on the situation. This process may become complicated by a number of factors, especially if the other parent attempts to dispute the obligation. However, a family law lawyer could help a client involved in a support dispute assert his or her rights in court.

Source: mobar.org, "Child support in Missouri", September 11, 2014

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