Fox Family Lawyers
Cynthia Moseley Fox
Attorney at Law
7751 Carondelet Avenue,
Suite 700
Clayton, Missouri 63105
(St. Louis)

Child Support

The following articles were all written for Cynthia Fox's weekly column in the Suburban Journals.

Staying “Connected” To Your Former Spouse Can Help When It Comes To Collecting Child Support

Maintaining friendly and on-going contact with your ex-spouse can be a difference-maker when it comes to collecting child support. First of all, when tough times hit your former mate...a job loss or large unexpected expenses...he or she is less likely to reduce or eliminate the child support payment if you've worked to keep relations cordial. But, should the checks stop coming, then the more up-to-date information you have about your "ex", such as place of employment, home address, banks and account numbers, etc., the easier it will be to enforce the court's child support order.     read more

Some Low Cost Ways For Trying To Collect Past Due Child Support

Once your former spouse exhibits a pattern of being late with his/her child support payments, or misses two or more entirely, you should act quickly to get the payments back on-track. One relatively inexpensive way is to execute a wage assignment form, available at the Circuit Clerk's office, so that the child support payment, as well as any past due support, can be deducted from your ex-mate's paycheck. Another is to contact Missouri's Child Support Enforcement program so that they can work on your behalf.     read more

A Good Lawyer Can Tap A “Deadbeat Dad’s” Retirement Plan For Past Due Child Support

For someone able to afford the fees of an experienced family law attorney, hiring a lawyer provides the widest array of options, and a much faster timeline, for collecting past due child support. There are several potential alternatives available for collection, including seeking a Qualified Domestic Relations Judgment Order ("QDRO") from the court that will allow the person obtaining the order to collect the past due amount from the delinquent spouse's retirement accounts.     read more

There Are Several Avenues To Explore For Reducing Your Child Support Obligation

This article identifies several possibilities for reducing the child support obligation of "Tom", who emailed Cynthia Fox. Tom's income has declined for three straight years, while his ex-wife only works part-time, two factors that could be important in earning Tom a reduction. Read the article to learn about others.     read more

What To Do If You Suspect Your “Ex” Isn’t Spending Your Child Support Payments On The Kids

If you think that your ex-spouse isn't spending the child support you pay him/her, and that your child's needs are not being met, you can ask the court to order your "ex" to provide you with an accounting of what he/she spends on whom or what. The key to convincing the court to act is to present credible evidence that your child is being deprived, not that your former mate is living too well.     read more

Forcing Your “Ex” To Account For How He/She Spends Your Child Support Payments

Cynthia Fox lays out the steps for how to you can have the court order your "ex" to account for the way he/she spends the child support you pay. Much of what needs to be done can be accomplished with minimal support of an attorney. The key to motivating the court to act is providing evidence, such as photos or testimony, demonstrating that your children are being deprived.     read more

Little Known Missouri Law Could Force You To Refund Child Support You’ve Received

A parent paying child support for a child enrolled in college is entitled to a written report at the beginning and end of each semester detailing the courses the child will take/has taken, the number of credit hours, and the child's grades. If this report is not provided, the child can be declared emancipated, child support will end, and the parent receiving the child support can be ordered to refund all support received since the first failure to provide the required information.      read more

The New Missouri “Chart” Says The Cost of Raising Children Has Declined for Upper Income Families

Missouri uses a "chart" to calculate the presumed cost of raising a child in Missouri, which is a critical input in determining the amount of child support to be paid in any given situation. The term "presumed" is used because the amount calculated under the chart can be challenged in court. This article examines changes in the new chart issued in 2005 versus the one issued three years earlier.     read more

The State “Chart” Says Child Rearing Costs Have Decreased For The Wealthy. Should Their Child Support Payments Decline As Well?

Missouri's 2005 child support "chart", which calculates the presumed cost of raising a child as an input to determining the amount of child support to be paid, indicates that the cost of raising a child for a well-off family has declined significantly. This article examines the factors behind this change and reveals, among other things, that the charts issued in 1998 and 2002 were based on very out-dated data. As a result, the 2005 chart compresses into one "snapshot" a shift in economic factors that have been accumulating since the early to mid-1980s.     read more

New Expenses Like College Tuition, Or a Big Raise, Can Lead To Higher Child Support Payments

Often, as a child's age increases, so does the cost of raising him or her. New expenses come on-stream, such as college tuition, for a child who had previously benefited from free public education. An older child, with a more independent life, often needs their own automobile. These increased costs, plus changes in their parents' incomes, can lead to a significant change in the amount of child support to be paid. Read about one such case history in this article.     read more

Fed Up Parent Risks Losing Custody and Child Support By Dumping The Child With the “Ex”

If you are divorced and the custodial parent, be careful about turning your child over to the other parent for an extended period of time. Doing so could result in your forfeiting your custody rights and the child support you receive. If you are the non-custodial parent and suddenly find your child or children thrust upon you, you should investigate whether you want to go back to court to permanently modify the custody and child support arrangements before the other parent has a change of heart.     read more

Do You Have a “Q-Order” in Your Divorce Decree? Is It Up-To-Date?

Learn about "Q-Orders" (Qualified Medical Child Support Judgment Orders) and why one should be included within any divorce that involves children and why they should then be kept updated. These orders help insure that the children remain covered by medical insurance while making it easier for the parent not providing the insurance to work with the insurance company. Among other things, a Q-Order can be used to automatically deduct the insurance premium from the paycheck of the parent obligated to provide the insurance, should that parent fail to pay the premiums in a timely manner, while also notifying the other parent if the insurance is about to lapse.      read more

Father Hopes Tuition Payments By New Wife’s Employer Fulfills His Obligation

"Mike" writes Cynthia irked that his "ex" insists that he still pick up 50% of their child's college room and board expense, as their decree requires, despite the fact that the child's tuition is paid for by the employer of Mike's new wife. Somehow, Mike thinks that he can take "credit" for the tuition reimbursement benefit earned by his new wife and foist the $6,000 annual expense for room and board soley unto his ex-wife's shoulders. Read about how Cynthia sets him straight.     read more

Parents Can Be Ordered To Pay Support Even For A Child Removed From The Home

This article describes how a guardianship can be used to remove a child from the parental home without terminating the parents' rights. A guardianship can be used when a child and his/her parents are so alienated from each other that it would be in the child's best interests for another responsible adult or couple to fill the parental role. Even so, since the parents' rights have not been terminated, they could be ordered to pay child support to the guardian.      read more

Debit Cards and Electronic Deposits To Replace Checks For Child Support Payments

This article describes how the Missouri Department of Social Services will be issuing a debit card, called a SecuritE Card, instead of a check to those that receive their child support payments from the state's Family Support Payment Center. Those with a bank account can also opt for a direct deposit into the bank account instead of the debit card, but anyone interested in that alternative must complete a special form.     read more

Can The Court Compel A Parent To Move In Order To Maximize His/Her Earnings?

A judge in the St. Louis County Family Court ordered an unemployed executive to pay child and spousal support based upon the salary the court believed the man could earn elsewhere in the US, even while recognizing that such a position and salary was not available in the St. Louis area. In doing so, the court was implicitly forcing the man to relocate out of town away from his child in order to land that type of position. Fortunately, the Missouri Court of Appeals intervened and ordered the lower court to set his support payments based upon what the man could expect to earn in St. Louis.      read more

Senate Bill Allows Divorced Parents To Stop Paying College Expenses When Their Kids Become 21

In 2007, the Missouri Legislature passed and Governor Matt Blunt signed Senate Bill 25, which lowered from age 22 to age 21 the last date by which a parent can be obligated to pay child support for an offspring still in college. This is the first of a series of articles dealing with this event and was written at a time when the bill having been passed by the legislature was awaiting the governor's signature.     read more

Readers Object To Senate Bill Lowering The Age When Child Support Payments Can Be Stopped

This is the second of a series of articles dealing with Missouri Senate Bill 25 that became law in 2007 and lowered from age 22 to 21 the last date by which a parent can be obligated to pay child support for a child enrolled in college. When written, the bill had been passed by the Missouri Legislature, but not yet signed by Governor Matt Blunt.     read more

Governor Is Still Reviewing Bill That Lowers Age When Child Support Can Be Stopped

This is the third article in a series covering Missouri Senate Bill 25, which was adopted in 2007 and which lowered the age of emancipation for children in college from age 22 to 21. As such, when Senate Bill 25 went into law in August 2007, parents were no longer obligated to pay child support for their children in college once they became 21. At the time this article was written, the bill was still awaiting Governor Matt Blunt's signature and had not yet become law.     read more

Readers Claim The State Has No Right To Require Parent To Pay For Child’s College Education

This article covers the response of some readers who wrote Cynthia Fox objecting to fact that parents in a divorce can be compelled by the court to pay for their child's college education. Cynthia points out that the court typically becomes involved only when the divorcing parents are unable to agree on whether the parents should or shouldn't pay. Rarely will a judge reverse the parents when they are in agreement, even if they are agreeing not to pay.     read more

Working Dad Tired of Paying Child Support for Kid in College Asks About Senate Bill 25

Cynthia Fox responds to a self-described divorced working man and father who wrote saying he was tired of having to pay for his son's college education. He stated that his son had his own trust fund and that his ex-wife and the mother was wealthy. Cynthia responds with some options for how this man could reduce his child support obligation, such as pointing out to the court that the child's own resources...the trust fund...should be tapped first before turning to the dad, and that he could also ask the court to modify his support payment based on the income disparity between himself and the mother.      read more

State Will Assist Reservists/Guardsmen Obtain Child Support Reduction If Pay Drops

Missouri's Child Support Enforcement group is required by law to assist any Missouri reservist or national guardsman called into active duty that has his/her income lowered as a result obtain a reduction in their child support obligation. Yet, despite the huge number of reservists and guardsmen deployed in Irag and Afghanastan, the agency has received very few requests. Why? Perhaps its because deployment results in a pay increase for far more soldiers than not according to a national study commissioned by the Defense Department.      read more

Activated Military Subject To Higher Child Support Payments If Call-Up Increases Earnings

A research study commissioned by the U.S. Defense Department reveals that most National Guard soldiers called into active duty experience an increase in pay versus their civilian wages. So, could they be required to pay higher levels of child and spousal support? Possibly. Read the article to learn about the barriers someone would face if they tried to press this case.     read more

New Law Lowering Age Child Support Ends Will Likely Invalidate Existing Decrees

This article answers questions about child support sent in by readers of Cindy's column. "Maureen" asks if her ex-husband will still be obligated to pay child support until age 22, as their divorce decree enunciates, or to just age 21 as a recently amended statute now prescribes. "Mike" asks if he can send his child support payment directly to his daughter in college.     read more

Child Support Obligation Still Due Even While Doing Time in Prison

Two short subjects in this article related to child support. First, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the well-established Missouri precedent that being imprisoned does not excuse one from their child support obligation, even if the incarcerated one is only making $7.50 per month. Second, a mother learns that she is not obligated to pay half of her child's college expense if her divorce decree orders her ex-husband to pay 50%, but makes no mention what she, the custodial parent, should pay.     read more

Appeals Court Reverses St. Charles Judge on Past Due Child Support Decision

A St. Charles County mother and ex-wife gets "burned" by a Missouri Court of Appeals decision after trying to "weasel" out of her child support obligation based on a "technicality".     read more

Divorce Judgments Should Be “Revived” Every 10 Years To Preserve Right To Past-Due Support

Read about "reviving" a divorce judgment after it has been in-force for ten years in order to insure the right to collect past due support payments that have remained unpaid for 10 years or more. Then, read how a Family Access Motion can be filed and enforced when your "ex" withholds your child in defiance of a court-ordered custody schedule.     read more

Should a Large Inheritance by Your Ex’s New Spouse Reduce Your Child Support Obligation?

Even if your "ex's" new spouse inherits a trillion dollars, it will have no impact on the amount of child support you are legally obligated to pay. However, you may be able to privately negotiate a reduction in what you pay with your former mate if you promise put the money saved to work benefitting your child in another way. On a whole separate topic, teenage children can often influence the decision about which parent he/she will ive with, but they have to be willing to testify in open court about their preference.     read more