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Use child's perspective with Missouri child support disputes

The words "equal" and "equitable" in a divorce context may confuse our St. Charles, Missouri, readers. Equal means that each party gets the same amount. Equitable means that each party is treated fairly.

In the determination of child custody and child support after a divorce, both parents have an equal responsibility to their child, but it isn't easy to divide that responsibility equally when they no longer live together. Therefore, the law has developed the responsibility of child support, which is usually paid by the noncustodial parent. Equitable settlement should be formulated in the best interests of the child.

Many Missouri couples who have gone through divorce or are still in the process encounter conflicts with their settlement. Former couples may have to go back to court with issues that weren't resolved properly. Some of the unresolved issues are conflicting parenting schedules and child support disputes.

Raising a child while going through a divorce is almost never easy. Not having an equal parenting time schedule is one common source of conflict. Unless both parents have similar lifestyles and parenting techniques, equal time with the children may escalate confusion. Often, child support disputes happen when the parties don't agree on how to bring up a child. Parents may have to think from their children's perspective instead of their own at times. If parents can do that, they may be able to agree to an amicable settlement that will be suitable for the financial needs of the child.

In Missouri, child support is calculated by answering questions on the Child Support Calculation Worksheet, also known as Form 14. This form includes questions about the income of the supporting parent, everyday needs of the child and other benefits, such as insurance. Once the court has made a decision, the custodial parent may recover the payments through wage garnishment, levies and state enforcements.

Source: DoorCountyAdvocate.com, "Theory: In divorce, equal does not always mean fair," Jamie Palmer, Oct. 26, 2012

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