Enforcing Child Support Orders
Enforcement of child support orders may be by criminal or civil process, and non-custodial parents may be pursued both in- and out-of-state. Upon receiving a referral for enforcement, this office mails an Enforcement Questionnaire to the custodial parent, which must be completed and returned.
In the State of Missouri, it is a crime for a parent to knowingly fail to provide, without good cause, adequate support which such parent is legally obligated to provide for his or her child or stepchild who is not otherwise emancipated by operation of law. Click here for a copy of the statute.
This crime, known as "Criminal Nonsupport", may be charged as a class A misdemeanor or a class D felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. Every criminal nonsupport case is individually reviewed and assessed by a prosecutor to determine the most appropriate charge or charges to be filed. The maximum sentence for a class A misdemeanor is one year in the county jail and a $1,000.00 fine. The maximum sentence for a class D felony is four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and a $5,000.00 fine.
If a Child Support prosecutor determines criminal charges are appropriate, the custodial parent will receive additional information or documents from this office, some of which may require the custodial parent's signature. The custodial parent's participation in court hearings, depositions, or a trial is often required.
Under limited circumstances, this office pursues enforcement of child support orders via civil contempt actions. Civil contempt is not a statutory remedy for enforcing a child support order.
If a Child Support prosecutor determines civil contempt proceedings are appropriate, the custodial parent will receive additional information or documents from this office, some of which may require the custodial parent's signature. The custodial parent's participation in court hearings may be required.