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Missouri Child Support Payments

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

In Missouri, child support may be ordered either by the courts or by the Department of Social Services’ Family Support Division (FSD). Your child support order specifies how much and how often a parent is to pay for child support.

If you are the paying parent (the obligor), the amount of support you will be ordered to pay is determined by a worksheet that was developed in accordance with guidelines that were set by the Supreme Court of Missouri in 1989. “Form 14,” as it is known, is filled out by both parents and considers several factors: income of each parent, number of children, cost of health insurance for children, etc. While FSD and the courts usually accept the final worksheet determination as the correct amount to award, they may choose to deviate from it under certain circumstances.

Missouri Child Support Payments: An Overview

Statutory language can be dense and complicated, so an overview in plain English can be helpful in providing an understanding of Missouri’s child support laws.

Statutes

Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 452, Domestic Relations, Section 452.340 (Child Support)

Payment Options for the Obligor

Payments sent to FSD may be made in several ways:

Payment Receipt Options for the Custodial Parent

The custodial parent may choose how to receive payments from FSD by:

 

When Child Support Payments End

Child support ends when your child:

  • Dies
  • Reaches age 18
  • Gets married
  • Is able to support themselves and the custodial parent has relinquished parental control
  • Goes into active duty military service
  • Child Support Obligations Beyond Age 18

    If your child is enrolled in secondary school, child support will continue until they complete the program or reach age 21, whichever comes first.

    If they enrolled in a college or vocational school no later than October following high-school graduation, child support must continue until they complete their education or reach age 22, whichever comes first.

    Modifications to Child Support Orders

    Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 452, Domestic Relations, Section 452.370 (Modification of Judgment as to Maintenance or Support)

    Child support orders may only be modified if:

    • Circumstances change enough to warrant it
    • The existing support order changes by 20 percent or more

     

    Consequences of Failure to Pay

    The Family Support Division of the Department of Social Services may order:

    • Wage garnishment
    • Real estate liens
    • Drivers license suspensions

    Criminal prosecution is possible if the obligor fails to pay child support for six months within a 12-month period.

    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.

    Missouri Child Support Laws: Related Resources

    Need Legal Help Regarding Child Support Payments in Missouri?

    Many factors can complicate child support payments, so it may be a good idea to consult an experienced Missouri child support attorney if you have questions about your situation.

    Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

    Contact a qualified attorney.