In Missouri, parents have a duty to take care of their children and provide them with all the basic requirements they need for their development. The custodial parent honors this responsibility by being with the child and directly providing anything they might need, and the non-custodial parent typically supports their child by making monthly contributions. If you are trying to navigate how this works, here’s what you need to know.
Child support in Missouri
If you are separated or going through a divorce in Missouri, the court will always put the child’s best interest first when determining child support and custody. One parent may get primary custody while the other parent gets visitation. The custodial parent will spend most of the time with the child while the non-custodial parent will get some days during the week to be with their child.
What’s important is that both parents support the child. The law assumes that the parent who lives with the child, for the most part, provides them with the support that they need, and the visiting parent must contribute by making monthly payments.
What if you get 50/50 custody?
One parent may still pay child support even if you get 50/50 custody. Usually, the parent who earns the most will pay to support the other parent in taking care of the kids.
How does the court calculate the amount to pay?
The first and main determinant of child support payments is your net income. This is the money you have after paying taxes, alimony, other child support, etc. Then, the court will look at the needs of the child. Your child must have the means to eat, get dressed, go to school, get the medical help they need and other necessities. Other significant factors the court looks at include:
• The parents’ financial resources and needs
• The lifestyle your child was used to
• Your child’s physical and emotional condition
• Child custody orders
You can always request to modify child support in Missouri when you need to. For instance, if you lose your job, get a promotion or change your custody arrangement, you may file for modification when something significant happens.