Child Support

In response to federal legislation, Missouri has adopted official child support guidelines.
These guidelines establish the method for calculating child support in each case and
whether more than the guideline amount is warranted. Lawyers, judges and employees
of the state child support enforcement office use these guidelines to calculate child
support. Guidelines are designed to ensure consistency and predictability in child support
amounts.

Child Support Guidelines

In Missouri, child support guidelines require the use of a calculation worksheet called
the Form 14, which is filled out using the parties’ respective incomes, regular ongoing
expenses, and various child credits. The court, however, is always free to increase or
decrease the presumed amount of support under the Form 14, so long as the court gives
specific reasons for doing so.

Termination of Child Support

In Missouri, child support obligations end when the child reaches age 18, unless the
child is enrolled as a student in a vocational program or institution of higher education
(carrying a minimum course load, of course), in which case the support obligation
continues until the child graduates or reaches age 21, whichever occurs first. At that
point, the child is deemed “emancipated” and the support obligation ends. Support
obligations may also end when the child marries. Emancipation should always be
addressed in the written settlement agreement when custody and child support are at
issue. Finally it is important for the parent with the child support obligation to take
affirmative steps to terminate child support legally in the court system once the child is
emancipated and not just simply stop paying child support.

Criminal Non-Support

Under Missouri law a person commits the crime of non-support if he or she knowingly
fails to provide, without good cause, the court ordered support for his or her spouse and/
or children when that parent is legally obligated to do so. If you are facing misdemeanor
or felony charges for non-support charges in the St. Louis metropolitan area please
contact us and schedule an appointment to discuss your pending case.