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Child support: Is your co-parent missing payments?

When you filed for divorce in a Missouri court, your children's well-being may have been your top priority. You understood that the decision you were making was going to have a significant impact on their lives. Like all good parents, you want what's best for them. Perhaps you were greatly relieved when the judge overseeing your case ordered your ex to pay child support.

Most divorce parents are willing to financially provide for their children. It's true, however, that such situations often spark contentious battles between former spouses, especially if they disagree about the amount of support necessary to meet the children's needs. Did your ex quit sending payments? What can you do about it?

Things to know about child support

When a family court judge issues an order for child support, both parents must fully adhere to the terms of the order. For instance, if the court order states a specific amount of money due on certain dates, you shouldn't expect your ex to send any more or less than the stated amount.

Unless the court grants a modification, meaning a change in the court order, your ex has to obey the terms of the existing agreement. Not paying child support that the court has ordered can lead to all sorts of legal problems, such as wage garnishment. A judge may also find a parent who has not paid child support in contempt of court.

Reasons for seeking modification

You shouldn't assume that, if your ex has missed one or more child support payments, he or she has the court's permission to do so. If the court were to grant such permission, you would be informed. 

There are legitimate reasons for requesting modification of a child support order, such as if the paying parent loses his or her job. Medical emergencies, increased household expenses because of a remarriage that increases family size and other issues may show evidence of a need for lowering or pausing child support payments.

You don't have to go it alone

When co-parenting problems arise after divorce, it can be highly stressful. You are better off trying to work as a team, but if your ex is making that impossible, you shouldn't hesitate to reach out for support to resolve a particular issue.

Especially if the issue in question concerns finances and your children's best interests, you can be proactive to protect your parental rights and to make sure to obey the court's orders.

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