St. Louis Child Support Lawyers
In order to protect your rights as well as those of your child, allow our staff of experienced child support lawyers to help you with these matters.
No one can dispute the fact that it costs a great deal of money to raise a child. In St. Louis, it is common for a non-custodial parent to help with those expenses through child support payments to the custodial parent. Child support payments are meant to help offset the cost of education, living expenses, health care, and the general care of the child or children.
Who Qualifies for Child Support?
The custodial parent of children under 18 is generally entitled to receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent. If the child is mentally or physically impaired, the age requirement can be extended, and in cases where the child’s education is extended past high school.
How is the amount determined?
The Missouri Supreme Court has guidelines in place, known as Form 14, that calculate the amount of support to be paid by a non-custodial parent. This form looks at gross incomes, the number of children involved, other children supported by the non-custodial parent, health insurance for the children, child care costs, and the amount of time spent with each parent. The court may make modifications due to extenuating circumstances, which is why an experienced St. Louis child support attorney should always assist you when filling out these forms. Our firm will have you and your child’s best interest at heart and will work hard to make sure that your particular circumstances are considered to receive the support you need.
St. Louis Child Support Assistance
It is often emotional to deal with these types of issues when your child’s welfare is at stake. Our team of experienced child support lawyers knows that these matters need to be handled delicately to resolve the problem amicably.
As your personal brigade fighting to obtain support for your child, our firm will make sure that you understand all of the guidelines set out by the state of Missouri and how they are going to affect your family. We have helped many single parents obtain child support in the past by:
- Obtaining an order to collect child support
- Modifying existing child support agreements to reflect current needs
- Enforcing child support orders that are being ignored by the non-custodial parent
- Assisting with issues regarding the paternity of minor children
These are emotional issues, often surrounded by chaos and turmoil as you try and cope with the pressures of being a single parent. As a family law firm, we understand your anguish and do our utmost to make the entire process as easy as possible for you and your child.
Child Support and Dissolution of Marriage
Attempting to work out details of child support amid divorce proceedings is emotionally draining. In St. Louis, many judges prefer that the parents of minor children come to their own amicable child support decision before a divorce is granted.
Although our firm consists of seasoned litigators who have spent many hours inside a courtroom, we prefer to try and work the issues surrounding children out through mediation. This is a more civilized approach to solving the complexities of determining child support and co-parenting decisions.
In a world where two-income households are dominant, and child care is often a necessity, Form 14 might not always fit a family’s needs perfectly. Our team of top-notch child support lawyers will help you and your parenting partner identify alternatives that can meet your needs as well as the best interests of your child.
Can an Order for Child Support Be Modified?
If a change in circumstance is significant enough to affect your child’s welfare, our firm can assist you in asking the courts for a support modification. The criteria for such changes must show that the current support order is unreasonable in light of these changes. We can help you present the evidence required by the courts to obtain the modifications you need.
Will Joint Custody or Visitation Affect the Child Support Order?
Suppose a court orders visitation or joint custody; a parent may not go against that order without good cause. Doing so could result in a reduction in child support payments. If you have a valid reason for denying visitation, you should first speak with one of our attorneys. We can help you file the necessary paperwork to adjust the visitation or custody order so that your child support is not affected.
A custodial parent is also in danger of losing their child support if they voluntarily allow the other parent to have physical custody of the child for more than 30 days. Again, our team of child support experts will help you retain your child support if extenuating circumstances prevail.
Child Support For Children of Unmarried Parents
A divorce is not the only instance where the courts order child support payments. Our firm deals with paternity issues all of the time and has helped hundreds of single moms obtain support orders for fathers who were never a part of their household.
Can a Child Support Order Be Terminated?
An order for child support will always include an age stipulation. This is usually 18 but can be extended to 21 if the child continues their education. No court order is needed to terminate support beyond a child’s 21st birthday.
If the child gets married, joins the military, or becomes otherwise emancipated before that time, the custodial parent needs to file a letter with the court notifying them of the change in status and requesting that child support payments be stopped.
The parent paying support can also file a similar letter. However, they may need to prove that the child has become emancipated in their case.
Child Support Lawyers
Your child’s well-being and future should always be put first despite the circumstances. As a team, our firm has learned that the best approach to dealing with family law issues like child support is to try and work out the differences in a productive and friendly manner. We have found that this approach paves the way for future problems to be handled with mutual respect and the child’s best interest as a priority.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney
Our firm uses experience, good communication, and availability to help families get through life changing events.
Call (314) 801-8488
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support
What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support is meant to cover basic living necessities. Typical expenses expected to be paid for are food, housing, medical, and education. Generally, excessively expensive or superfluous items are not covered.
How is Child Support Calculated?
Support will generally be calculated based on the child’s needs and each parent’s financial situation. An example of the former would be if a child goes to a private school. A couple might find it reasonable to have that child continue to attend private school and raise the level of support accordingly. An example of the latter would be one parent being a top-tier earner. They will likely be expected to pay more in support if they make a significant amount.
Can Child Support Be Adjusted?
The number you settle on in your divorce is not set in stone. If certain factors change in your or your child’s life that may constitute an adjustment, you can negotiate that number privately or in court.
When Does Child Support End?
Child support payments usually end when a child turns 18, though there are exceptions.
What if My Former Partner Doesn’t Pay Child Support?
When you agree on a child support payment, your former spouse is legally obligated to pay it. If they do not, you can carry out legal action against them. This is best done with the help of a lawyer.
Read more: What if My Spouse is Hiding Money to Avoid
How Can I Get the Best Deal in a Divorce?
As we mentioned above, stakes are very high when negotiating child support. Whether you pay for or receive it, you want to get the best deal possible. This is generally accomplished with the help of an experienced divorce attorney. They can leverage their extensive legal experience to negotiate a favorable deal for you.
Going through a divorce can be very frustrating. However, if you are well-informed, it will make the process significantly easier. The best way to educate yourself is by speaking with a St. Louis divorce lawyer you can trust to be an excellent source of information throughout your negotiations. For a FREE 30-minute phone consultation call The Betz Law Firm at (314) 801-8488.