What’s This About Child Support?
Every child has a right to receive support from both parents even if the parents are divorced, separated or never married. The Family Support Division helps families get the support they need.
Who is eligible for child support services?
The Missouri Family Support Division (FSD) is a state agency that provides child support services to:
- Custodial parents - parents who live with the children.
- Noncustodial parents - parents who do not live with the children.
- Custodians - relatives or non-relatives if the non-relative has legal custody or guardianship.
- Adult children - persons between the ages 18–21.
- Alleged fathers - men whose fatherhood is in question.
- The legal representative of the custodial parent’s/custodian’s estate when that person is deceased.
If children receive public assistance, FSD automatically receives a referral to provide services. If children do not receive public assistance, a person can apply for services.
What help is available?
FSD helps families by providing the following services:
Paternity Establishment—FSD can help establish paternity (legal fatherhood) for children born to unmarried parents. If the parents are certain “dad” is the child’s father, all the parents need to do is sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. If the paternity of the child is uncertain, FSD can arrange for a paternity test. If the test shows the man to be the child’s father, FSD or the court may enter an order establishing paternity.
Establishment and Review of Support Orders—FSD establishes child and medical support orders when a support order does not exist. FSD also reviews existing child and medical support orders to determine if the orders should be changed. When determining the amount of the child support payment, FSD staff use the child support guidelines established by the Missouri Supreme Court. The guidelines consider the income of both parents.
Enforcement of Support Orders—FSD helps families receive their child, medical and spousal support by:
- Withholding income (wages, Workers’ Compensation benefits, unemployment compensation benefits, etc.);
- Intercepting federal and state income tax refunds;
- Ordering employers to enroll noncustodial parents’ children in health care plans;
- Reporting noncustodial parents who owe past–due support to credit bureaus;
- Filing liens on personal and/or real property;
- Intercepting lottery winnings;
- Suspending licenses (drivers, recreational, professional);
- Asking the prosecuting attorney to file civil contempt or criminal non–support charges upon request by the applicant for services; and
- Working with other states to collect support when noncustodial parents live outside Missouri.
What information is needed to apply for services?
To apply for services you can:
- Submit an application online;
- Download, print and complete the Application for Child Support Services;
- Obtain an application from your nearest child support office; or
- Call 1-800-859-7999 to obtain an application.
FSD will use the information provided on the application to initiate a case. Parents can help by providing as much information as possible. Information needed includes, if available:
- Legal documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees and support payment records;
- Information about the other parent’s home address, employer and/or other income source;
- Complete financial information; and
- Any changes in job, address or health care coverage.
Parents should update FSD with changes of address, telephone numbers and employment. Parents should notify FSD if/when custody of the child changes, as well as provide any other information that may affect the child support case.
How can support payments be made and received?
FSD offers several ways for child support payments to be made and received. If you are ordered to pay child support, you may:
- Arrange for automatic withdrawal from your checking or savings account;
- Make online or credit card support payments at: mo.smartchildsupport.com; or
- Send a check or money order.
If you receive child support, you may:
- Arrange for direct deposit of your payments into your bank account; or
- Receive payments on a prepaid card loaded with your support payments.