O’Fallon Child Support Attorneys
Missouri law requires parents to provide for their children, regardless of whether they are or ever were married (such as after a divorce), and courts are able to compel parents to support their children by ordering them to pay child support. Generally speaking, the parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time (the custodial parent) may seek child support from the noncustodial parent.
A child custody award can have a significant impact on a custodial parent’s financial situation and his or her quality of life, as well as the quality of life of the child at issue. Similarly, a child support payment that is unfair or unnecessary can place a tremendous financial burden on non-custodial parents and make it difficult for them to meet their other monthly obligations.
For this reason, it is strongly recommended for anyone seeking or opposing a child support order to retain an attorney familiar with Missouri family law and procedure.
How Do Missouri Courts Determine Child Support?
As in most other states, Missouri courts use a complex calculation to determine how much child support a non-custodial parent will pay the custodial parent. Generally speaking, if child support is ordered, the amount a parent will pay is based on his or her gross income and the number of children he or she is required to support. The minimum child support payment authorized by the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations is $50. In deciding whether and how much child support to award, state law requires the court to consider “all relevant factors,” including the following:
- The financial needs and resources of the child
- The financial resources and needs of the parents
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved
- The physical and emotional condition of the child
- The child’s educational needs
- The child’s physical and legal custody arrangements, including the amount of time the child spends with each parent and the reasonable expenses associated with the custody or visitation arrangements
- The reasonable work-related child care expenses of each parent
There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of that will be awarded should be the amount set by the Missouri child support guidelines. More importantly, however, this is only a presumption, and judges are free to deviate from the standards set by the guidelines if they find that their application would be unjust or inappropriate in particular case.
As a result, it is critical for anyone involved in a proceeding where child support is at issue to retain an attorney who will present their case is the strongest terms possible and make sure their rights are protected.
Contact an O’Fallon Child Support Lawyer
If you are involved in a child support dispute or simply have questions about your rights, you should contact the Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. as soon as possible. We work with parties seeking child support as well as those who wish to minimize the amount they need to pay. We work with clients in the communities of O’Fallon, Wentzville, Lake St. Louis, Weldon Springs, St. Peters, St. Paul, Golden Eagle, and throughout St. Charles County. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us at 636-695-4125.