When parents divorce or unmarried individuals have a child together, both parents remain responsible for supporting the child financially. Applying for child support through the Missouri Department of Social Services allows the custodial parent to establish paternity if necessary, locate the other parent and request a court order for financial support. 

Follow these steps to begin the process of seeking child support in Missouri. 

Complete an application 

You can apply online through DSS, by phone at 800-859-7999 or in person at your local DSS office. The application takes about 60 minutes to complete and requires details about your children, your household income and existing custody orders. You can also select the services you need from DSS. These may include: 

  • Requesting a DNA test for the alleged father when either parent contests paternity 
  • Locating a parent who lives outside Missouri 
  • Establishing a legal child support order or reviewing and modifying an existing order 
  • Enforcing an existing child support order when your child is not receiving the required support 

Receive a case number 

The Family Support Division will create a case once they have received your full application. You will receive a letter in the mail that establishes your case number and gives you contact information for your caseworker. Save this number for your reference. 

Estimate support determination 

Upon establishment of a legal father if the parents have not married or upon filing for services when parents have divorced, the court will review the available financial information to calculate support. The judge begins with the state’s Basic Schedule of Child Support Obligation. Monthly payments on this chart start at $50 per month per child and increase with every additional $50 in adjusted gross income. The judge may also account for the cost of health care, education, extracurricular activities and other expenses. 

Child support continues until the child turns 21, or 18 if the child does not maintain full-time high school or college enrollment. Support ends regardless of age if the child gets married or joins the military.