Child support laws: Public opinion vs. reality: Part II

In our last post, we began a discussion about a recently released public-opinion study on child support. Laws and calculations regarding child support obviously vary by state, but average Americans may have little knowledge of what those laws say.

For this and other reasons, public attitudes about child support can be very different from the legal realities. Today’s post will focus on Missouri’s laws regarding child support awards and child support modifications.

As we note on our child support page, child support is commonly awarded in cases where parents have different income levels and different amounts of custody time with the kids. Many factors are considered when calculating child support, including parenting time. As just one example, the non-custodial parent can receive a visitation credit (that would lower their monthly payment) if the child spends a certain number of overnights with the non-custodial parent.

Other guidelines that may be considered when calculating Missouri child support include:

  • The gross incomes of both parents
  • Costs of medical care and insurance for the child/children
  • Day care costs for the child/children
  • The number of children who need support
  • The amount of alimony paid or received (in some cases)

Similar factors may be considered when either parent seeks to modify a child support order. The most common reasons for seeking a modification are increasing needs of the child and significant changes in the income of one or both parents.

Someone who has directly been impacted by Missouri’s child support laws may have very different opinions than the general public. But it is interesting to note that among many parents who either pay or receive child support, it is common for each to feel that they are being treated unfairly. Non-custodial parents often feel that they are paying too much, and custodial parents often feel that they are not receiving enough in child support.

No matter which side of the equation you find yourself on, you need a legal advocate who can protect your rights and your interests. An experienced family law attorney can help you with a number of important issues related to child custody, child support and modifications of these orders.

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