The Child Support Unit, under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Social Services, Family Support Division:
- Enforces child support orders
- Establishes paternity, child support, and medical support orders
- Seeks reimbursement of public assistance benefits paid by the State of Missouri
Child support services are provided by the Family Support Division without cost to all Missouri residents, and are provided automatically to custodial parents who receive particular kinds of public assistance benefits.
The Family Support Division is the initial agency for handling all cases. Only when the Family Support Division is unable to adequately resolve a child support matter is the case referred to the appropriate prosecuting attorney's office.
The Child Support Unit of the Prosecuting Attorney's Office only works cases referred by the Family Support Division. This office has no authority to act without a proper case referral.
A custodial parent who lives in Missouri and desires child support services should contact the Family Support Division Office in the county where he/she resides. The Family Support Division Office for St. Charles County may be reached by calling 636-940-3100 or visiting 3737 Harry S Truman Blvd., St. Charles, MO 63301. View a map.
Nonresident custodial parents may also request services by contacting the Family Support Division main headquarters in Jefferson City, Missouri.
- Child Support Customer Service Call Center: 866-313-9960
- Child Support General Information: 800-859-7999
- Child Support Payment Information (Missouri Automated Child Support System (MACSS) - case number required): 800-225-0530
- Employer Information: 800-585-9234
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 (PDF) 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. View 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 1 year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. The maximum sentence for a Class D felony is 4 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and a $5,000 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.
Upon referral from the Family Support Division, this office will file a petition to establish paternity between an alleged father and a minor child or children. As part of a paternity action, a prosecutor seeks child support and medical support (health insurance) orders for the children.
It is important to note that most referrals received by this office for the establishment of paternity involve an uncooperative party. Where either parent is unwilling to cooperate in establishing paternity, it can be a long process.
Several court appearances may be required of the custodial parent. If necessary, genetic testing may be ordered to establish the scientific probability of paternity before a judgment is entered; while testing is arranged locally by the Family Support Division, reimbursement for the cost of the testing may be sought by the prosecutor.
By law, any custodial parent receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits must cooperate with this office or those benefits may be sanctioned. View the statute.
Custodial parents not receiving public assistance should cooperate with this office in order to prevent their cases from being dismissed.
This office may require the custodial parent to complete and return these forms, among others:
After Paternity Judgment
Paternity judgments are entered following a hearing or trial at which the custodial parent is required to appear. After a paternity judgment is obtained, this office will close its referral and return the case to the Family Support Division for enforcement of the child support or medical support orders, as appropriate. If necessary, the case may be re-referred for further enforcement actions by this office.
In the State of Missouri, any payment of public assistance for the benefit of a dependent child creates an obligation that is due and owing by the parent absent from the home where the child resided at the time the public assistance was paid. View the statute.
Public Assistance Benefits
When a custodial parent is receiving (or has received) public assistance benefits in the form of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Family Support Division may refer the case to this office for the purpose of seeking reimbursement from the alleged father or non-custodial parent of the amounts paid to the custodial parent.
Reimbursement of TANF may be included in a paternity action, or filed within another civil action currently pending between the parties, or filed separately as its own cause of action.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a custodial parent may be required to appear for court hearings in order to assist the prosecutor in resolving a reimbursement referral.