Child Support Information
The Greene County Prosecutor's Child Support Unit is the host for the Springfield Regional Child Support Office (RCSO). The RCSO provides judicial child support services for the Missouri Family Support Division in the counties of Greene, Christian and Taney. The RCSO generally has authority over five types of cases: 1) the establishment of paternity for children who are born out of wedlock and the establishment of a child support order for the support of that child; 2) the enforcement of existing child support orders; 3) the modification of certain child support orders in Greene County; 4) for initiating and responding to cases from other states pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act; and 5) on cases as requested by the State of Missouri Family Support Division (FSD).
In all the above cases, the client of this office is always the State of Missouri, Family Support Division. The RCSO cannot proceed without a referral from the Missouri Family Support Division (FSD). If you have a child born out of wedlock or an order for child support and would like more information about how to apply for free assistance from the State, please call the Springfield Family Support Division, Child Support Program, at (417) 895-6338 or visit their website at http://www.dss.mo.gov/cse/index.htm
The Springfield RCSO is located at 313 South St, Suite 300, Springfield, Missouri 65806. You may reach the office by phone by calling (417) 868-4126 or by emailing them at RCSO@mail.com. The RCSO is open during normal work days from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
HOW CHILD SUPPORT IS HANDLED IN MISSOURI
The child support enforcement program in Missouri is frequently referred to as the IV-D program as it originates from Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act. The IV-D program is administered by the State of Missouri, Department of Social Services, Family Support Division (FSD). FSD is the agency responsible for the IV-D cases and uses the administrative process to accomplish the goals of the IV-D program: locate non-custodial parents, establish paternity and support orders, modify support orders and enforce support orders. In the situations where FSD is not able to administratively accomplish the goals of the IV-D program, then FSD makes a referral to a county prosecuting attorney's office. In a small number of cases, FSD may refer a case to the Office of the Missouri Attorney General. If the custodial parent lives in Greene, Christian, or Taney County, the FSD offices will make the referral to the RCSO. If you have a child born out of wedlock or an order for child support and would like more information about how to apply for free assistance from the State, please call the Springfield Family Support Division, Child Support Program, at (417) 895-6338 or visit their website at http://www.dss.mo.gov/cse/index.htm.
Paternity Actions: Once a paternity action is referred to the Prosecutor, a Petition for Declaration of Paternity is filed with the court. Genetic testing of the parties is performed to determine if a named party is the father of the child. The laboratory performs tests until they exclude the person as the Father or until the results show at least a 98% probability that he is the Father. If the results of the genetic testing establishes that an alleged father has at least a 98% probability of being the Father then a hearing is held to obtain a Judgment/Court Order establishing paternity and an attempt will be made to establish a child support order for the support of the child. The amount of time required to establish paternity can vary. Most challenged paternity actions are resolved within twelve months. Many can be resolved in as little as four months.
Enforcement Actions: RCSO uses two different processes to enforce child support orders in the courts. One way is to pursue a Judgment of Contempt where the non custodial parent (NCP) is ordered to pay a specific amount of money; the second way is for the RCSO prosecutors to file criminal charges (either a misdemeanor or a felony) against the NCP. Both processes may result in the incarceration of the NCP if the NCP fails to pay the court ordered child support amount. The RCSO prosecutors will decide which process to use on each case.
Civil: A Motion for Contempt against the non-paying party is filed in the court to begin a civil enforcement action. The person that is not paying is then served by the sheriff with the Motion for Contempt and a Order to Show Cause requiring the NCP to appear in court on a certain date at a certain time and tell the judge why s/he should not be held in contempt. At this initial appearance, the prosecutor will make an attempt to reach an agreement with the non-paying party. This agreement usually involves a payment plan. If an agreement is made the case will be continued so the court can monitor the party's compliance with the agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached the case is set for a hearing, which is like a trial. If the NCP fails to establish good cause, the Judge may find the NCP to be in contempt of court and can order the NCP to be committed to the county jail until such time as they purge themselves of the contempt by paying a specific amount of money set by the court.
Criminal: RCSO prosecutors can charge a NCP with a misdemeanor or felony non-support. A misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to one year in the Greene/Christian/Taney County Jail and/or a fine up to One Thousand Dollars ($1,000). A felony carries a sentence of up to four years in the Department of Corrections and/or a fine of up to Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000).
Modifications: The RCSO has limited ability to litigate modification of support cases. At this time, the only cases eligible to be handled by the RCSO are where the child support order was last entered by a court, not by FSD, and it has to be a Greene County order. The Family Support Division (FSD) does handle modifications. FSD generally requires that the order be more than three years old and that the Missouri Child Support Guidelines (Form 14) indicates that there would be a twenty percent change in the child support amount. In certain circumstances, FSD may seek a modification of a court order sooner than three years. If you would like more information about how to apply for free assistance from the State, please call the Springfield Family Support Division, Child Support Program, at (417) 895-6338 or visit their website at http://www.dss.mo.gov/cse/index.htm.
Visitation and custody: Neither FSD nor the RCSO has the authority to litigate these issues. You must hire a private attorney for counsel on these matters. Even if a NCP does not have visitation with his/her child(ren), the NCP must continue to pay child support until further order of the court.
TO MAKE A CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENT, send a check or money order to the Family Support Payment Center at P.O. Box 109002, Jefferson City, Missouri 65110-9002. Be sure to include the NCP's name and the case number or MACSS number or IV-D number so that proper credit will be given. You may reach the Family Support Payment Center's customer service department at 800-220-0530.
IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT YOUR CHILD SUPPORT CASE, please call the FSD Call Center at (866) 313-9960.
If you would like more information about how to apply for free assistance from the State, please call the Springfield Family Support Division, Child Support Program, at (417) 895-6338 or visit their website at http://www.dss.mo.gov/cse/index.htm.