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Missouri Child Support Laws

Child support is the money that the court orders one or both parents to pay each month to help raise their child or children. In Missouri, the judge determines the amount of child support based on the state guidelines and issues a child support order. Child support cases can be very emotional, especially in the midst of divorce, custody, and paternity legal battles. Below is a summary of Missouri's child support laws.

What Guidelines Will the Judge Follow to Determine Child Support?

While many factors come into play when determining how child support may be allocated, the best interests of the child usually carry the most weight. Child support is determined through a complicated calculation.

Although Missouri has a Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations, every case is unique. Typically, a judge will follow the schedule. The minimum payment is $50 per month. For each $50 more in combined adjusted gross income, the child support payment increases. For each additional child, child support payments increase as well.

To determine the amount of child support, parents are required to fill out a Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet and provide proof of the amount of their income.

Missouri Child Support Facts

It can be difficult to understand the dense legal jargon associated with Missouri's child support statutes. Below, you will find a chart highlighting Missouri's child support laws that will help break the codes down into plain text.

For additional information please consult FindLaw's sections on Child Custody in Missouri, Child Support Modification, and Child Support Enforcement.

Code Sections

Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 452 and Chapter 454 (enforcement)

Who Is Responsible?

Both parents must provide for their child.

How Is Support Calculated?

Based on the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations and the gross income of the parents, which is determined by the following: salaries, wages, commissions, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, partnership distributions, Social Security benefits, retirement benefits, worker's compensation benefits, unemployment compensation, disability insurance benefits, veterans' disability benefits, military allowances for subsistence and quarters, rental or royalty income (gross receipts minus the ordinary and necessary expenses incurred), overtime compensation, bonuses, earnings from secondary employment, recurring capital gains, prizes, retained earnings, and significant employment-related benefits.

What Expenses Can the Judge Order?

Child support will include financial support for basic needs such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, and health care.

The non-custodial parent can also be responsible for daycare, extracurricular activities, private school expenses, and medical expenses not covered by insurance.

How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support?

A parent's legal support duty continues until the child:

  • Turns 18, has graduated from high school, and isn't enrolled in college;
  • Graduates from college or attends college or vocational training less than full-time;
  • Turns 21 years old;
  • Enters into active duty in the military;
  • Marries; or
  • Dies
Also, the court can order parents to continue to support a disabled adult child who cannot support himself or herself.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching. Please note that as of  January 2023 the website of the Judicial Branch of Missouri remained inaccessible and so we removed their non-functioning links from this page.

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about Missouri child support laws, click on the following links below:

Let an Attorney Help You With Your Child Support Case

Because Missouri's child support laws can sometimes get complicated, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Missouri family law attorney who specializes in child support issues if you have questions about your specific situation. A skilled lawyer can explain confusing child support guidelines and help you feel more in control of your situation. Don't delay; call a Missouri child support attorney near you today.

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