What factors are considered when calculating child support?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in child support on Tuesday, August 2, 2016.

If you ask just about any parent in Missouri what they think about the child support they pay or receive, you will likely get one of two answers, depending on whether they are the payer or the recipient: way too much or not enough.

Parents who are required to comply with an order for child support don’t always see child support strictly as a means of supporting a child, which is why it’s hard to see eye-to-eye. Some think of it as a penalty for noncustodial parents or that it should serve as a reward for acting as “the better parent.” But the fact is there are strict guidelines when it comes to calculating child support Missouri courts will use. Below are some of the factors that are and are not generally considered.

Things the court will consider include:

  • A parent’s gross income
  • How many children are being supported
  • Healthcare needs of the child
  • Child care costs
  • Custody arrangements

Things the court will generally not consider include:

  • Why the parents split up
  • Bad behavior unrelated to child-rearing of one or both parents
  • What other parents in a similar situation have paid

As you should see, the calculations are not arbitrary or used as a way to punish a parent; they are financial. Further, readers should remember that child support orders are in place for the benefit of the children involved, and to ensure both parents are contributing to the well-being of their children.

Because of this, it is crucial that every child support order is based on thorough, accurate information. Whether you rely on the courts to make these calculations or you are able to figure them out on your own outside of court, they must be fair and reasonable and above all else, meet the needs of the child.

If you have questions about how child support is calculated in Missouri or if you wish to examine the options for modifying existing orders, then it can be best to consult an experienced family law attorney.

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