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What to know about child support

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Parents in Missouri and throughout the country will pay an average of $233,000 to raise their children. Therefore, it is important that parents take the lead in providing for their kids whether the parents are married, separated or divorced. As of April 2017, American parents owed $114 billion in past due child support according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In most cases, child support payments must be made until a child turns 18 or graduates from high school.

If a child has special needs, parents may be required to provide financial support past the child's 18th birthday. Child support orders may be terminated if a minor is adopted by another adult. The process of collecting child support begins with obtaining a court order. In the event that a parent doesn't comply with an existing order, the other parent may contact state authorities for assistance in getting that person to comply.

Authorities may also be able to assist those who are seeking child support payments from parents who live in another state. Parents who are behind on their child support payments could have wages garnished or lose a business license until the balance is paid in full. It is also possible for property to be seized and liquidated to pay a back child support balance.

Child support may be used to help pay for everyday expenses such as buying food or clothing. It can also be used to pay for daycare, school tuition or anything else that could benefit the child. Generally, child support payments are based on state guidelines and a parent's income. An attorney may be able to further explain to a parent how child support payments are calculated and why a judge may deviate from state guidelines in a given case.

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