Child support is an important part of ensuring that separated or divorced parents meet their children’s financial needs. Child support laws apply to all parents, including those in the military.
Military parents in Missouri have unique considerations regarding child support, and one common question is whether child support payments automatically stop when the child turns 18.
Child support basics for military parents
With a divorce rate of 4.8%, military members need to understand child support requirements. Both parents are financially responsible for their child’s well-being. Factors like each parent’s income, the child’s needs and the parenting time division determine child support amounts.
In Missouri, child support generally continues until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. However, this rule may vary for military parents due to unique circumstances.
Active duty military service
When one or both parents are on active duty in the military, child support does not automatically end at age 18. It may extend till age 21 in some cases, for instance, if the child attends college or a vocational school.
Child support may continue if the child has special needs or if both parents agree to extend the support agreement.
Military parents may request modifications to their child support orders if their circumstances change due to deployment, relocation or other military-related factors.
Federal regulations for military members
The U.S. military expects its members to support their children financially even if no court order for child support exists. Failure to comply with child support requirements can lead to serious consequences, including disciplinary actions and potential harm to one’s military career.
Federal child support regulations for military members generally align with state laws and do not establish a separate age limit for when child support ends. Military members must adhere to both federal and state laws, as they can intersect and influence each other.
Ways to ensure compliance
Maintaining open communication with the custodial parent, following court orders and requesting modifications to child support orders due to military-related circumstances are all good ways for military parents to ensure they follow federal and state child support regulations.