Why parents are required to pay child support

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, January 31, 2019.

A noncustodial parent in Missouri may be required to pay child support to the custodial parent. Generally, the child spends most of their time living with the custodial parent. This is referred to as physical custody. Legal custody, which pertains to making decisions about the child’s education, schooling and other important matters, is separate and may be shared when physical custody is not.

Child support is calculated based on several factors, including income and standards of living. It is intended to cover basic expenses, which may include school costs, extracurricular activities, food, shelter, toys, medical care and furniture the child uses. A parent can use child support payments for utilities and rent since these are part of the child’s shelter. However, the recipient parent is not permitted to use the money for vacations or personal items. If there is child support money left at the end of the month, the parent should put it away in case it is needed.

Child support may be taken directly from the noncustodial parent’s paycheck. A parent who is unable to keep up with child support payments can apply to the court for a modification.

Courts take the responsibility of paying child support seriously. If parents have a prenuptial agreement, it cannot include plans for child custody or support. This type of information could make the agreement invalid. If a parent fails to keep up support payments, the other parent is not permitted to change the custody and visitation arrangement in response. The parent must still be allowed to see the child. As long as parents have a formal child support agreement in place, a parent who is struggling to keep up child support payments can get assistance from the office of child support enforcement. A lawyer could also help with the support modification process.

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