If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is understandable if you have questions about what child support is used for in Missouri. Whether you are a custodial parent seeking help or you are facing a request for financial support from the other parent, understanding the system is important.
Child support can be used for different things so long as the money is used for the basic needs of the child. This broad approach allows parents to use these funds in a way that benefits the minor child, but it can also lead to disputes over how the money is spent.
If you are involved in a custody dispute, you could benefit from discussing your child support rights and obligations with a seasoned attorney. Reach out to the J. Rench law Firm, LLC right away to learn more.
What Can Child Support Be Used For in Missouri?
There is a wide range of necessary expenses that the custodial parent could spend child support on. These include some of the obvious expenses related to supporting a child, including the cost of their food, clothing and housing. Parents are also required to provide for the healthcare of their children, which can be complicated depending on which parent has the best option for employer-based health insurance. The cost of transporting a child to and from school is another common use for children support funds.
There are other things a non-custodial parent could pay for with their monthly child care payments. If the child is enrolled in daycare due to both parents working, the cost of this care could be handled with child care funds. Education is another example. If a child is in private school or has out-of-pocket expenses for their public school, child support could cover those costs.
Child support can also be used for extracurricular activities. If a child plays a sport or participates in marching band, child care payments could go to the expenses related to that activity. There is substantial leeway for what custodial parents use these funds for, but the non-custodial parent always has the option to raise an objection in court if they disagree with an expenditure.
How is The Amount of Child Support Set in Missouri?
One of the confusing aspects of child support awards is that despite the court setting an exact amount of support required each month, the parent receiving the support is not placed on a strict budget where every dollar is spent through a mutual agreement.
Instead, the court will use a formula to determine the appropriate amount of support for the children. From there, the court will provide the parent receiving the support with guidelines on how that money must be used.
In Missouri, the courts rely on something known as the Schule of Basic Child Support Obligations. This schedule is used to calculation baseline support amounts using each parent’s income. The minimum payment required under the law is $50 per month, but most cases see a larger award than the minimum.
The child support schedule is only a baseline, meaning a judge has the right to adjust the amount paid if they feel it is in the best interest of the child. For example, a parent with these obligations outside of this relationship might pay less due to their existing support bills. The court will also take any special needs of the child into consideration when determining a reasonable amount of child support.
Talk to Our Firm Right Away in Missouri
If you are dealing with a dispute over child support, it is vital that you speak to an attorney right away. By working with legal counsel, you could protect your rights and give yourself a chance at a fair outcome to your case.
The J. Rench Law Firm, LLC is ready to help you during this challenging time. We could work with the other parent to resolve any disputes and simplify the process as much as possible. Reach out to us right away to schedule your initial consultation.