Missouri court looking for input on child support guidelines

For parents who have divorced, one of the most important elements of the divorce settlement is the child support obligation. It is important to the parent who receives the payment, to help with the cost of raising the child, and it is important for the parent making the payments, as child support obligations are virtually impossible to eliminate and can have damaging consequences if you fail to make those payments.

This month, the Missouri Supreme Court is gathering testimony from parents around the state for their input on aspects of the child support guidelines. The Missouri court is responsible for the guidelines and looks to those who actually live with child support payments as one way of improving how they function.

The hearings are held by the Family Court Committee. This committee has no authority to change the laws or alter individual parent’s child support orders, but their hearings will collect information on what it costs to raise a child in Missouri and other details relevant to guidelines. This research will be used to eventually set the figures used in calculating the guideline amounts.

They have held hearings in Springfield and Columbia and hope to learn from parents their experience living with the guidelines. The courts are often criticized for being out of touch, and this series of hearing allows the people of Missouri who are most affected by the child support guidelines an opportunity to “say it like it is” and provide direct testimony on the topic.

Of course, no single statement is likely to cause large-scale changes to the guidelines, but if enough people have the same problem, the court is more likely to work towards changing that element of the guidelines.

Source:, “Judiciary Seeks Comments For Child Support Guidelines,” Brennon Gurley, March 11, 2016

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