Like most states, Missouri relies on a complicated formula as a starting point for setting monthly child support obligations. This calculation is made using a number of factors, including the income of both parents. While income is an important factor, there is a minimum amount of monthly support that every child support order must include. The minimum amount of child support in Missouri is $50 per month.
Understanding how the minimum payment impacts you and your child is only one of the issues that can come up in a child support dispute. The court must take a wide range of factors into account while keeping in mind the best interest of your child. An experienced child support attorney could help you address these issues.
Understanding Minimum Child Support Payments in Missouri
The minimum amount of child support allowed under Missouri law is $50 per month. While the court is not bound to issue a child support order at all, if it does so the monthly amount must be at least $50.
Generally, the court will follow the schedule of child support payments set out by the state. This schedule begins at a minimum $50 per month. The amount owed only increases along with the paying parent’s adjusted gross income. Most of the time, the court will order payments of 25% of a parent’s disposable income.
How Does Missouri Calculate Child Support?
The minimum payment set by law is only one aspect of the child support calculation process. To begin, each parent must complete something known as the Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet. They must also provide proof of the income they claim in that worksheet.
Once the parents have submitted this information, the court will rely on something known as the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations. This schedule is essentially a formula that suggests a monthly payment amount after calculating all of the relevant factors.
The income of both parents is only one of the major factors the court will consider. A judge must also take into account the number of children present—including those that come from other marriages or relationships. In addition to income, the judge will also consider the custody arrangement. Typically, a parent that has more overnight visits with a child will have a lower child support obligation.
Finally, the schedule takes into account all of the relevant expenses that come with raising a minor child. This includes work-related child care, medical costs, health insurance, and other agreed-upon expenses for the child.
Does a Judge Have Leeway on Child Support Orders?
When a judge makes a decision regarding child support, they typically rely on the recommendations of the schedule. However, they are not bound to accept this number in every case. A judge has the final say when it comes to child support awards.
A judge can consider other factors that outweigh the recommended amount. For example, a parent that is expecting an impending change in income might not be able to make the payments the schedule suggests. A judge has the power to deviate from the schedule, even though they usually do not.
It is worth noting that there are limits to this deviation. No matter what the court orders, a judge that requires child support must set the payments at a minimum of $50 per month. The judge also is barred from allowing wage garnishments that take more than 25 percent of disposable income.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Child Support Dispute in Missouri
Missouri might have a minimum child support payment, but most cases involve support amounts that are much higher. A judge will set a child support obligation after taking into account the parents’ income and other relevant factors.
If you are facing a child support dispute, the J. Rench Law Firm, LLC could help. Our firm understands how important a fair outcome is in these cases. We can ensure the judge has all of the relevant details before making the final decision. Contact us right away for your initial consultation.
Related Content: How Much Does a Child Support Lawyer Cost in St. Louis?