college money

Do I Need to Pay Child Support Through College?

Understanding the Duration of Missouri Child Support

On a child’s 18th birthday, they are gifted the status of adulthood, and with it, the right to vote, enter into a legal contract, and even get a tattoo on their own. However, while Missouri recognizes 18-year-olds as adults, it doesn’t always remove from them all of the benefits of childhood.

Under Missouri law, child support terminates when the child turns 18 unless they enroll in college no later than October 1 following their high school graduation. To remain eligible for child support, the student must:

  • Finish at least 12 credit hours per semester, excluding the summer term
  • Achieve grades that allow them to continue studying at the institution; and
  • At the beginning of each semester, the child must provide each parent with a transcript showing the classes enrolled in and grades received in each course they completed the semester before.

If the child abides by these requirements, the child support will likely continue until they graduate or turn 21, whichever happens first. However, if the child fails at least half of their courses in a given semester, child support may then be terminated.

Do I Still Pay the Other Parent While My Child Is at College?

parents are obligated to continue directing support payments to the other parent unless they receive a court order that says otherwise. Once a child nears the end of high school, Missouri laws allow parents to return to court to formally change support to include payment be given directly to the child.

Are There Any Restrictions Regarding How My Child Can Use the Money?

Child support is ordered to help a custodial parent with the costs of raising a child into adulthood. It’s intended to help cover a child’s necessities and activities, such as:

  • Clothing
  • Daycare
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Medical expenses
  • Transportation

While these are the intended purposes for child support, there are no laws governing where the money must go, nor are there any consequences for a using child support money on video games or vacations.

The same can be said for child support payments made to your spouse before your kid graduates high school. The money is intended for use on the child, but, in reality, they may use the funds however they like, so long as they do eventually fulfill the child’s needs.

For example, if parent receiving support takes a portion of the child support to see a movie, and then later buys groceries for child with their own paycheck, they are still contributing to your child.

Call Lake Munro for help modifying your child support order today: (314) 648-2186.