The Added Cost of Not Paying Child Support

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Child support obligations should not be taken lightly. The court orders a parent to pay child support; it has the force and effect of any judgment and should be obeyed. Failure to pay child support over time could lead to a variety of collection processes, from garnishment to contempt to Child Support Enforcement to even criminal nonsupport.

If you think that missing a few support payments will only cost you the amount of the payments missed, you would be mistaken.

Under Section 454.520 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, every delinquent child support payment is subject to the interest that accrues at the rate of one percent per month and is calculated as simple interest.

These last two points – charging interest and the manner of computation – are not discretionary but required. So, if a parent misses a payment by one month, it will be charged interest of one percent on that amount.

Suppose a parent owes $500 in a child support payment for one month. After one month, that parent now owes $5 more for that late month. If the parent waits for one full year to pay, the interest is not 12 x $5 = $60. Given the amount of child support owed and the number of months without payments, interest can begin to add up quickly.

Procedurally, in order to receive the interest, the party owed support must file an affidavit with the circuit clerk setting forth the payment history and a computation of interest due and owing. It is the burden of the party paying support to prove a payment has been made to avoid the interest penalty.

As you can see, the General Assembly has imposed a stiff penalty on not paying child support timely – the annual rate far exceeds the regular rate of inflation.

If you have questions about interest and child support, contact us – we can help.