On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Monday, January 5, 2015.
Child support is one of the most hotly contested areas of family law. It is a popular stereotype regarding divorced couples in our society: neither party is happy with child support. It seems that in every movie or television show, the divorced husband feels that he is paying too much in child support, or the divorced mother bemoans that her husband’s substantial paycheck should allow him to spare a bit more for the sake of the child. Of course these stereotypes exist for a reason, and many divorced couples genuinely feel this way.
While there is no guarantee that both parties will be happy with the child support order, understanding how courts come to a conclusion regarding child support can help make the payments a bit more bearable. In Missouri, non-custodial parents are expected to make a minimum child support payment of $50 per month. The payment increases for every additional $50 in the parents’ combined adjusted gross income, which is determined by many different variables.
Gross income can include anything from salaries to retirement benefits to capital gains to bonuses. In fact, it is easier to note the things that are not included in gross income: Medicaid benefits, food stamps, general assistance benefits, TANF payments, SSI Benefits and child support that is received for other children. This means that all other types of income could add to the combined gross income and mean larger child support payments for the non-custodial parent.
The child support payments will also increase for each additional child, which is why child support payments can seem much higher than expected. Of course, courts do not set support orders up haphazardly. There is an extensive legal process behind support orders, including parents having to prove their income before the child support is determined.