When parents divorce, Missouri courts may order the mother or father to pay reasonable and necessary child support for the support of a child. A child support award is made without regard to marital misconduct. Calculating the child support obligation for each parent can be confusing and complex. At Cope Litigation & Transactions LC, we are experienced and very skillful at calculating each parent’s child support obligation. We work hard to protect your rights as a parent, reduce your child support obligation and increase the other parent’s support obligation.
In calculating child support, the court will review the financial needs and resources of the child, the financial resources and needs of the parents and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved. The court, also, will look at the physical and emotional condition of the child, the child's educational needs and the child's physical and legal custody arrangements to be determined by the court. In particular, the court will determine the amount of time the child will spend with each parent and the expenses associated with the custody or visitation arrangements, together with the work-related child care expenses of each parent.
The Missouri Supreme Court sets forth guidelines for calculating the child support obligations of the parents. These guidelines are specific and list the relevant factors that are used to calculate the child support obligations of each parent. At trial, each parent presents their calculated amount of each parent’s child support obligation, using Missouri Supreme Court Form 14. The court may adopt the child support calculations made by one of the parties, or the court may make its own child support calculations using Form 14. The child support calculation made or adopted by the court under Form 14 is presumed to be the correct amount of each parent’s child support obligations.
In certain cases, the court may reduce the child support obligation to zero where the child spends equal or substantially equal time with both parents. A court may reduce or eliminate any past or future child support obligation if the court finds that the custodial parent has, without good cause, failed to provide visitation previously ordered by the court.
The obligation of a parent to make child support payments ends when the child reaches the age of eighteen unless the child is enrolled in and attending college. If the child attends college, the child support obligation continues until the child completes college or reaches age twenty-one, whichever first occurs. The obligation also ends — or terminates — if the child dies, marries, enters active duty in the military or becomes self-supporting, provided that the custodial parent has relinquished the child from parental control by express or implied consent.
The obligation of a parent to make child support payments may be terminated without court order when:
(a) the child reaches age twenty-one,
(b) the parent receiving child support files an affidavit with the court that the child is emancipated, or
(c) the parent paying child support files an affidavit with the court stating that the child is emancipated and reciting the facts for such statement; and the affidavit is affirmed or not timely responded to in writing by the parent receiving child support.
Based in Springfield, Missouri, child support attorney Jack Cope represents parents throughout Southwest Missouri in child support matters before, during and after divorce. He believes firmly in ensuring children receive the appropriate amount of support to be well taken care of — without either parent's financial or custody rights being ignored in the process. We welcome you to contact Cope Litigation & Transactions for a consultation about your child support matter.