How Is Child Support Calculated?

Though every newlywed couple dreams of a lifetime together, divorce is unfortunately a fact of life for many people. Recent statistics show that the divorce rate for first marriages range between 40-50%, and that the divorce rate for second marriages can be even higher.

When children are involved, the divorce process often becomes more challenging and  stressful. Even though they do not share the same household anymore, most couples will share the responsibilities of raising and supporting their children. This week, O'Donnell Law Center examines the financial aspect of this shared responsibility.

An Overview Of Child Support

Child support flows from a court or administrative order that allocates between the parents  the costs associated with raising children in separate households. Suppose, for example, that post-divorce, the children will live with the mother during the week and with the father on weekends (or perhaps every other weekend). Since the mother has the lion's share of the parenting time, she will naturally be faced with the majority of the child's living expenses such as food, clothing, school supplies, and doctor's visits. In order to offset these costs, the order will direct that the father provide financial assistance to the Mother in the form of child support.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

Many years ago, the state of Missouri adopted a specific and complex mathematical formula called Form 14 for computing the amount of child support the non-custodial parent will be required to provide to the custodial parent. The use of this formula is mandatory - it must be used in every case to determine how much child support will be ordered. The formula takes into account a variety of different factors, such as:
  • Each parent's gross monthly income
  • The number of children involved
  • Health insurance costs for the children
  • Reasonable costs of providing for the children

Before beginning negotiations, many parents may not realize that it is up to them and their Lake of the Ozarks family attorney to plug in the numbers and perform the computation. A skilled attorney will be able to use a great deal of discretion when determining which numbers are appropriate to plug in to the formula. The numbers used to perform the calculation greatly impact the final result, so being able to use this kind of discretion can be immensely valuable.

How Long Does Child Support Last?

The length of time a parent will be required to provide child support varies upon several different factors. As a general rule of thumb, child support orders last for as long as the children in question are considered dependent upon parental support. In Missouri, this means that the non-custodial parent may be required to continue paying child support until the child turns 21 if the child remains enrolled in college, and 18 if not. If the child has permanent disabilities, the child support order may last for the child's entire lifetime.

Contact O'Donnell Law Center For Help With Child Support Issues

With the potential of living under a child support order for multiple years, it is important to ensure that your child support orders are calculated correctly. If you are facing a child custody battle, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our divorce attorney in Osage Beach MO to evaluate how our team may be able to assist you.

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

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Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3

Osage Beach, MO  65065


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