For many people, child support is an important legal right. It helps ensure a child’s financial security by requiring each parent to contribute in proportion to his or her income. Without fair child support orders in place, you may not be able to ensure that your bills will be paid. This stress can impact your relationship with your child, and it is not necessary. Child support orders can be put in place as soon as you file for divorce or legal separation.
Attorney Jennifer Rench is an experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney. She is experienced in all legal issues related to child support, and she can help protect your legal rights before, during, and after your divorce. Call (314) 328-5423 to schedule your free consultation.
Temporary Orders Versus Permanent Orders
When a petition is filed for divorce, the court can issue temporary orders that remain in place until the divorce is finalized. These temporary orders can cover a wide range of issues from child custody, use of the marital residence, use of the family vehicles, temporary spousal support, and temporary child support.
Temporary child support is a critical step toward securing your interim financial plans. The parent with a lower income is usually disadvantaged because the parent with a higher income is better able to secure a temporary residence and pay the bills while the divorce is pending. This is why the court has the authority to enter interim child support orders. These temporary orders can ensure financial support for the children until the divorce is finalized. This is a critical tool because divorces can take many months – or sometimes even years – to become final.
A divorce becomes final when the couple either agrees to the settlement of all issues or after the case goes to trial and a judge issues orders on all issues. In either case, there will be a final determination of child support. If the parents have agreed to child support, the judge still must still approve the settlement. If the parents do not agree, the judge will make findings of the parents’ income and their relative share of parenting time, then use these figures to calculate child support. In either event, there will be a final order for child support.
At this point, any temporary child support orders are dissolved, and the final child support order becomes effective. Child support orders remain in place until the last child turns eighteen years old or until a parent seeks modification of the order. Child support for multiple children can change as each child turns eighteen, so a parent who is ordered to pay child support should be sure to ask the court for a modification. Child support does not automatically change just because one or more children are no longer minors.
How to Get a Temporary Order for Child Support
When you file a petition for divorce or legal separation, you may also file a petition for temporary orders (including temporary child support). It is important to file this request as soon as possible. It takes time to schedule a hearing on temporary orders, and until this hearing occurs, the judge cannot issue temporary orders. The sooner you request a hearing, the sooner you can start receiving child support from your child’s other parent.
At the hearing, the judge will consider evidence related to child support. This includes information about each parent’s earning ability, the amount of time each child spends with each parent, and any special needs the children might have (such as special medical or educational expenses). The judge will then use this information to calculate the amount of child support that is due. If each parent earns a similar income and spends essentially equal time with the children, it is possible for neither parent to owe child support to the other.
It’s a good idea to work with an experienced child support attorney before your hearing to ensure there are no surprises regarding child support. It is also helpful to consult the Missouri Department of Social Service’s child support website to answer questions about the logistics of child support payments.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Consultation with a St. Louis Divorce Lawyer
If you have any questions about child support, call Attorney Jennifer Rench at (314) 328-5423 or contact us online. Ms. Rench is a skilled attorney and St. Louis mediator who knows how to bring her clients cases to the most positive resolution possible.