Child Support in St. Louis, MO
Child Support is a periodic and regular payment usually expressed in monthly amount and paid by one parent to the other parent to help pay the costs of caring for the child.
Although child support was historically paid by the “non-custodial parent” to the “custodial parent”, those terms are no longer used.
With the changing customs and practices applied in making child custody orders, the designation of “custodial” parent is blurred.
With more and more actual “50/50” physical custody schedules, there may not even be a parent who would have been designated as “custodial” and one who designated “non-custodial.”
The terms used now are the parent “paying support” and the parent “receiving support.”
These terms are both more accurate and less likely to cause concern.
- The child support guidelines followed in Missouri include factors such as the number of nights overnight per year the children spend with each parent.
- The number of nights overnight with the “parent paying support” translates into a “child custody credit” in the form of a reduction from what the paying parent would otherwise pay to the receiving parent.
- The more nights overnight with the paying parent, the greater the percentage and amount of the “child custody credit.”
Child support payments are calculated based on the income of both parents.
The income calculation includes job-related income, including overtime and bonuses if historically consistently received, interest income, business income, rental income, investment income, dividends and other types of income.
For divorcing parents, if there is spouse support (“maintenance”) paid by one to the other, that spouse support is subtracted from the income of the parent paying spouse support and added to the income of the parent receiving it when preparing the required Presumed Child Support Calculation Worksheet.
In Missouri, this Presumed Child Support Calculation Worksheet is commonly called the “Form 14.”
The costs of health, dental and vision insurances, work-related child care, ongoing medical and other special needs expenses, and other factors are also considered.
The guidelines for determining child support are comprehensive and some of the rules are complicated and confusing.
Contrary to instinct or common belief, the paying parent’s ability to pay is rarely directly considered when determining child support.
- In cases of 50/50 physical custody, if one parent earns substantially more than the other, there will likely still be a child support order.
- In cases of 50/50 physical custody in which the income of the parents are nearly equal, there may not be any child support ordered.