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How Is Child Support Calculated In Missouri?
Child support payments in Missouri are calculated by a method using several factors which is determined by law.
If you want a quick estimate of how much you may have to pay, you can refer to the Missouri Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligation. This is a chart of support amounts based on your combined gross income, number of children, and number of overnight visits. However, these are basic amounts – they will most likely change as other unique factors in your case are included in the computation.
The more detailed calculation of Missouri child support is done using the Form 14 Child Support Amount Worksheet. This is a one-page form that asks for your relevant information and instructs you on how to compute them into your child support. The first five lines of the form helps you come up with the basic child support amount, the next two lines are about additional child-rearing costs, and the final lines are credits that you can deduct from the amount.
Two of the significant factors in this worksheet are monthly gross income and number of overnights.
In Missouri, your gross income can include your salary or wages, commissions, dividends, pensions, interest, annuities, social security benefits, retirement benefits, and more. Sometimes, it may even include regular gifts and bonuses. What is generally not included is assistance for families, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
Overnights are also a crucial factor, as they are deducted from your support obligation. The more overnight periods your child spends with you, the greater the percentage of child support that will be deducted. However, you must have at least 36 overnight visits with your child for this deduction to apply.
Completing the Form 14 worksheet is useful in determining how much you should prepare to pay for child support. Note, however, that the court has the final say about your support obligation. Normally, judges follow the Form 14 computation, but if there are extraordinary circumstances in your case that affect child-rearing expenses, the court may adjust the support amount.
Though the law provides basic guidelines on child support calculation, every case is different and may not always conform to the charts. Don’t hesitate to ask a family law attorney if you need more information or have specific questions regarding your child support obligation.
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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.