Missouri Child Support Laws

Child support is the money that the court orders one or both parents to pay each month to help raise their child or children. In Missouri, the judge determines the amount of child support based on the state guidelines and issues a child support order. Child support cases can be very emotional, especially in the midst of divorce, custody, and paternity legal battles. Below is a summary of Missouri's child support laws.

What Guidelines Will the Judge Follow to Determine Child Support?

Child support is determined through a complicated calculation. Although Missouri has a Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations, every case is unique. Typically, a judge will follow the schedule. The minimum payment is $50 per month. For each $50 more in combined adjusted gross income, the child support payment increases. For each additional child, child support payments increase as well. To determine the amount of child support, parents are required to fill out a Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet and provide proof of the amount of their income.

What Is "Monthly Gross Income" in Missouri?

A parent's gross income includes any of the following:

  • Salaries
  • Wages
  • Commissions
  • Dividends
  • Severance pay
  • Pensions
  • Interest
  • Trust income
  • Annuities
  • Partnership distributions
  • Social security benefits
  • Retirement benefits
  • Worker's compensation benefits
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Disability insurance benefits
  • Veterans' disability benefits
  • Military allowances for subsistence and quarters
  • Rental or royalty income (gross receipts minus the ordinary and necessary expenses incurred)

Additionally, "gross income" can include, in whole or in part, any of the following, when it is found to be appropriate to include this income:

  • Overtime compensation
  • Bonuses
  • Earnings from secondary employment
  • Recurring capital gains
  • Prizes
  • Retained earnings
  • Significant employment-related benefits

The following table highlights the main provisions of Missouri's Child Support laws. See also Child Custody in Missouri, Child Support Modification, and Child Support Enforcement.

Code Sections

Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 452 and for enforcement Chapter 454

Who is Responsible?

Both parents must provide for their child

How is Support Calculated?

Based on the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations and gross income described above.

What Expenses Can the Judge Order?

Child support will include financial support for basic needs such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, and health care. The non-custodial parent can also be responsible for daycare, extracurricular activities, private school expenses, and medical expenses not covered by insurance.

How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support?

A parent's legal support duty continues until the child:

  • Turns 18, and has graduated from high school and isn't enrolled in college
  • Graduates from college or attends college or vocational training less than full-time
  • Turns 21 years old
  • Enters into active duty in the military
  • Marries
  • Dies
  • Also, the court can order parents to continue to support a disabled adult child who cannot support himself or herself

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about Missouri child support laws, click on the following links below:

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Because Missouri's child support laws can sometimes get complicated, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Missouri family law attorney who specializes in child support issues if you have questions about your specific situation. A skilled lawyer can explain confusing child support guidelines and help you feel more more in control of your situation. Start now with a free case review at no obligation.

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