There are many parents across St. Louis who are understandably nervous about paying child support. While mothers and fathers know that child support can be essential and is intended to contribute to the best interests of their child, the fact remains that it is still a financial obligation that many people are not quite prepared for.
In many cases, parents are afraid that child support payments will be unfair. The person paying support can feel like it is too high, while the parent receiving payments can feel like it is not enough. However, there are legal measures in place to ensure child support payment calculations are fair and manageable. Still, it can be easy to doubt the system.
For example, Missouri residents may have read this news story of a mother requesting $1 million a month in child support from her ex-husband. She says that while $1 million sounds excessive, it is an accurate reflection of how much was spent on the couple’s children before the divorce. The father has argued that the request is motivated not by the needs of his children, but by the greed of his ex.
When people read stories like this, it can confirm their worst fear: that outrageous child support requests could be granted. However, it is critical for parents — particularly fathers who are often the ones ordered to pay child support — to recognize that cases like the one in the news are not the norm.
Missouri laws dictate that a number of objective factors are considered in the calculation of child support. It is not an arbitrary process. Courts will consider:
- Income of each parent
- Custody arrangements
- Financial needs of the child
- Pre-divorce lifestyle of the children
Based on these and other factors, courts will calculate a payment that a parent should be able to afford and contributes to the well-being of the child.
It is important to note that there are instances when a child support payment seems unlawful or unmanageable, especially when a parent’s financial situation changes or the needs of the child change over time. This is why parents are allowed to seek support modifications.
Whether a parent is trying to secure a fair child support arrangement or has reason to pursue modification, seeking legal guidance can be crucial. An attorney can help parents explore their legal options and protect their parental rights.