Obtaining child support in Missouri involves a series of steps and procedures. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Establishing Paternity: If the child’s biological father is not listed on the birth certificate or if there is any dispute regarding paternity, you may need to establish paternity. This can be done voluntarily through an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity or through a court-ordered DNA test.
- Filing a Child Support Application: To initiate the process of obtaining child support, you will need to complete an application for child support services. You can obtain this application from the Missouri Family Support Division (FSD) office, their website, or your local child support agency.
- Provide Necessary Information: You will need to provide the FSD with detailed information about both parents and the child, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and employment information.
- Court Order: In some cases, you may need to obtain a court order to establish child support if the parents are not able to come to an agreement on their own. You can file a petition with the court requesting child support, and the court will determine the amount based on Missouri’s child support guidelines.
- Mediation or Negotiation: Sometimes, parents can come to an agreement on child support payments without the need for a court order. In such cases, you can negotiate and agree on the amount and terms of child support with the other parent.
- Child Support Calculation: Missouri uses a formula to calculate child support, which takes into account factors like each parent’s income, the number of children, and the cost of health insurance and childcare. The Family Support Division (FSD) or the court will use this formula to determine the appropriate child support amount.
- Payment Arrangements: Once child support is determined, a payment arrangement will be established. Typically, the non-custodial parent (the parent who doesn’t have primary custody of the child) is required to make payments to the custodial parent.
- Enforcement: The FSD has various enforcement mechanisms in place to ensure that child support payments are made, including wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and license suspension. If the non-custodial parent does not make payments, you can report this to the FSD for enforcement actions.
- Modification: Child support orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income, the child’s needs, or custody arrangements. You can request a modification through the FSD or the court.
It’s important to keep accurate records of child support payments and maintain open communication with the FSD or your attorney if any issues arise. The process may vary slightly depending on your specific circumstances, so it’s advisable to consult with an attorney or contact the Missouri Family Support Division for guidance tailored to your situation.
At Raza Family Law Solutions, we practice family law effectively guiding clients through prenuptial and post nuptial agreements, dissolution of marriage, modifications of prior judgments, and resolving child custody disputes. We also help families take a different approach to divorce with mediation and collaborative work. Contact us for a consultation at (314) 314-5505.