Child support determination guidelines in Missouri

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in child support on Friday, December 1, 2017.

One of the greatest challenges that divorcing parents in Jackson County may face is being able to set aside the issues that contributed to the end of their marriages in order to work together in raising their kids. Many may believe that residual feelings of animosity harbored by former spouses may prompt them to try and punish their exes through their divorce proceedings. One way may be to ask for inordinate amounts of child support. Those obliged to pay such support may feel as though their former spouses are trying to harm them financially under the guise of trying to support the kids. The fact that the U.S. Census Bureau reports that $32.9 billion was due in child support as recently as 2013 may seem to support this assumption.

It should be known, however, that the decision of how much one must pay in child support (or if one is required to pay anything at all) is left to the court. The elements the court uses to make a child support determination can be found in Section 452.340(1) of Missouri’s Revised Statutes. These include:

  • The standard of living that the children involved in a divorce case would have enjoyed had their parents remained together.
  • The time children spend with each parent as part of a custody agreement, and the expenses required to fulfill such an arrangement.
  • The children’s education needs, as well as their physical and emotional health

Another of the major factors that the court considers are the financial needs and resources of the children compared to those of their parents. This also takes into account child care costs each parent must pay due to their careers. All of these factors are used to determine a child support obligation that is deemed fair and reasonable to both parents.

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