How child support is calculated in Missouri

How child support is calculated in Missouri

There are many factors that go into calculating child support in Missouri. Not surprisingly, every family is different, and the court will try to match a fair dollar amount to each family’s unique set of needs. Some factors that impact how child support is calculated in Missouri include:

  • Number of children
  • Income of both parents
  • Cost of healthcare
  • Cost of daycare
  • College costs
  • Extraordinary medical costs
  • How many annual overnight visits the non-custodial parent has

Missouri uses the “income share” method for calculating child support payments. This method ensures that both the custodial and non-custodial parent contributes to a child’s upkeep. A judge can modify or deviate from this method if parents have shared custody. There is also such thing as a “percentage of income” method for calculating child support, which is a simple percentage of the non-custodial parent’s monthly income that is given to the custodial parent for a child’s living expenses. Payments are determined using Missouri’s Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet (commonly referred to as Form 14).

As an alternative to a court order, child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents. This can be negotiated by child support lawyers or by the parents themselves. You can find an interactive Missouri child support calculator tool here.

What is average child support in Missouri?

An attorney explains how child support is determined in Missouri.

The average child support payment nationwide in 2017 — paid by noncustodial parents to custodial parents — was $3,431 annually, according to This is less than $300 per month. According to CustodyXChange, the average child support payment in Missouri in 2019 was $556 per month. CustodyXChange shows that state averages range nationwide from a low of $402 per month in Virginia to a high of $1,187 per month in Massachusetts.

Missouri child support is coordinated through the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program, a division of the Missouri Department of Social Services. You will need to complete an application to receive child support through CSE. You can get a printable version of the application here, or call the Missouri CSE information line at 1-800-859-7999.

What is the maximum child support in Missouri?

It is hard to determine what is the maximum child support in Missouri. Your child custody lawyer can give you better details during a consultation about the potential maximum payment you may be able to receive based on the unique factors in your case.

Missouri parents can develop a residential schedule for their child/children explaining the details of their physical custody arrangement in which a child lives and spends time with each parent. Parenting time does affect the amount of child support. When the paying parent has 36 to 183 overnights a year, they deduct a percentage from their support obligation. You can see a chart here. A judge can deviate from the adjustment if parents have significant income differences or if one parent pays the majority of a child’s costs over and above the calculation, such as piano lessons, sports teams, clothing, braces, etc.

How is child support paid in Missouri?

Usually, the paying parent does not pay the receiving parent directly. Rather, typically Missouri’s Child Support Program collects payment and distributes the money. A paying parent can submit payments online, by mail or in rare circumstances in another manner. Ordinarily, a judge will issue an income withholding order that automatically deducts payments from the paying parent’s paychecks. A receiving parent can get the money on a prepaid debit card or through direct deposit into their bank account.

The receiving parent cannot deny the other parent access to a child for failing to make child support payments or for late payments. This is not allowed in Missouri. The residential schedule must be followed. It can only be changed if your attorney successfully challenges the arrangement in court.

Enforcing child support orders

Missouri Child Support Enforcement (CSE) can help you ensure that the paying parent meets their obligations. CSE has the power to enforce your order by intercepting tax refunds, withholding income, reporting a non-paying parent to the credit bureaus, placing liens on real or personal property, intercepting lottery winnings, ordering employers to enroll non-custodial parents’ children in health insurance plans, suspending driver’s licenses, and requesting contempt of court charges. A Missouri child support attorney at Birk Law Firm can also help you with this.

Why choose Birk Law Firm?

The Family Law practice at Birk Law Firm combines compassion and care with aggressive representation. Attorney Kelvin Birk holds not only a law degree, but he is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). That means he knows how to dig into the numbers and find out what’s really going on. He is an astute financial professional in addition to having keen legal knowledge about Missouri’s child support and child custody laws.

If you’re wanting a child support order changed, the attorneys at Birk Law Firm can help with that. Only a judge can alter a support agreement, so you will have to file a Motion or Petition with the local court. Depending on if you can agree with the other parent, you may not have to actually go to court. Parents wanting to modify a child support order should file a motion to modify child support to have this done legally. To have a support order changed, you must show a change in circumstances since the time the order was originally enacted. You must also show that the change would be in the child’s best interest.

Contact a Missouri child support lawyer today

If you want to learn more about how child support is calculated in Missouri child or if you want an existing support order modified, talk to the skilled and experienced family law attorneys at Birk Law Firm. We have helped countless parents get the child support payments they deserve. We have also helped negotiate support payments between parents wanting an amicable solution. To find out more about how we can help, call us at 573-332-8585. We are happy to provide legal services to families in need of help.

Attorney Kelvin Birk

Attorney Kelvin Birk

Kelvin Birk is a lawyer as well as a certified public accountant, with more than 30 years of experience in accounting and tax and business consulting, and more than 20 years of experience in numerous legal matters. This combined expertise allows our law firm to provide a level of service above that of other firms. Whatever your legal situation, your attorney at Birk Law Firm can counsel you as to the tax implications. We have experience in providing myriad legal representation services to residents of southeast Missouri and other areas.. [ Attorney Bio ]