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Melissa A. Featherston

Missouri families face burden of unpaid child support

Many custodial parents rely on child support to pay for their child's daily living expenses. In Missouri, the amount of total outstanding payments owed for child support is over $2 billion. Now the state is working to reduce that number.

The state is switching to all digital child support payments, meaning more money should end up in the hands of parents who need it. The new digital system will work with employee verification databases to more easily garnish wages of those who have been ordered to pay child support but aren't doing so. This will hopefully allow for more payments to be collected than what was possible under a paper system.

Raising a child is expensive. When only one parent is paying for expenses, the finances can often be tight. Many times mothers are the ones who don't receive the support they need. Using a new system will allow more parents to receive the payments the need.

When someone gets a new job, their employer reports the new hire to a database. If the person owes back child support in Missouri, the new system for digital payments will allow the state to more easily take money out of that person's paycheck to pay the support.

This system is already in place in many states and Missouri hopes it will help them increase the money they collect for back child support by $7 million. If someone isn't receiving child support that they are entitled to, a child support attorney may be able to help them explore options such as this, depending on their situation.

Source: Ozarks First, "Unpaid Child Support a Burden for Government, Families," Kate Stacy, Feb. 20, 2012

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