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CHILD SUPPORT

OFFICE INFORMATION

The Taney County Prosecutor’s Office is a member of the Springfield Regional Child Support Office, a service provided free of charge by the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office. Their office is located at 313 South Street, Ste. 300 in Springfield, Missouri. However, all child support cases filed in Taney County are still heard at 266 Main Street in Forsyth at the Taney County Judicial Facility.

You may reach the Springfield Regional Child Support Office by calling either (417) 868-4126 or toll-free at (866) 429-4711, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

For more information on the Springfield Regional Child Support Office, please visit the Greene County Prosecutor’s website.

WHO WE ARE

Cheri Cobb, Child Support Prosecutor
CCobb@greenecountymo.gov

Cheri joined the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office in December of 2016.  She received her B.A. in Criminology with a minor in Sociology from Drury College (now University) in 1996. Cheri graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in 1999.

Cheri currently serves as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Child Support Unit of the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Springfield, MO covering Christian and Taney Counties.  She previously served as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Christian County, Missouri from February 2015 until November 2016, as Part-Time Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Webster County, Missouri from September 2011 – December 2015, and as a contract Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Springfield, Missouri from 2001 – 2006.  She owned and operated her own law practice from 2005 to 2015.

WHAT WE DO

The Child Support Enforcement Division handles four types of support cases:

1. Paternity actions for children who are born out of wedlock and the establishment of a child support order for the support of that child.
2. Enforcement of existing child support orders.
3. Initiating and responding to cases involving the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.
4. Other requests made by the State of Missouri, Family Support Division (FSD).

In all the above cases, our office represents the State of Missouri and we cannot proceed on any action without a referral from the Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division. WE CANNOT GIVE OUT LEGAL ADVICE. If you have questions please contact the Missouri Department of Social Services at http://www.dss.mo.gov/cse/.

CHILD SUPPORT IN MISSOURI

The child support enforcement program in Missouri is handled by two main agencies: the Family Support Division (FSD) and County Prosecutor’s Offices across the state.

The Family Support Division is the primary agency that handles child support in Missouri. If they can resolve the case, then they retain the case. If they cannot resolve the case, then they will refer it to our office. Once FSD refers the case to our office, the law sets out specific time frames for the case to be resolved. We cannot act on your case until we receive it from FSD.

Paternity Actions: Once a paternity action is referred to our office, we file a Petition for Declaration of Paternity with the court. The Court then orders, Genetic testing of the parties is performed to determine if a named party is the father of the child. The laboratory tests to determine if the named person is not the father or if there is a 98% probability that he is the Father. Once establishment of the Father is made, a hearing is held by the Court to obtain a Judgement and Court order establishing paternity and a support order for the child. The amount of time this process can take ranges from four (4) to twelve (12) months and depends on whether the named person contests being the Father.

ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

Criminal: Statutory authority allows us, in our discretion to charge Non-Support as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to one year in the Taney County Jail and/or a fine up to Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000). A felony carries a sentence of up to four years in the Department of Corrections and/or a fine of up to Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000).

Civil: A Motion for Contempt against the non-paying party is filed in the court to begin an 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 why they should not be held in contempt. The non-paying party is directed to appear in court on a certain date. At this initial appearance, our office will make an attempt to reach an agreement, typically a payment plan with the offending party. 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. At the hearing our office has to prove the following: that there was an order; that the non-paying party knew of the order; that the non-paying party is not paying as directed by the order. The non-paying party then must show that they had good cause for not paying as directed by the order. If the non-paying party fails to establish good cause, the Judge may find the non-paying party to be in contempt of court and can order the non-paying party 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. This payment generally is paid to the custodial parent.

Modifications: The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney does not have authority to litigate modification cases. The Family Support Division (FSD) does handle modifications. They generally require that the order be more than three years old and that the Missouri Child Support Guidelines indicates that there would be a twenty per cent change in the child support amount. In certain circumstances, FSD may seek a modification of a court order sooner than three years, although the criterion is stringent. You should be aware that if you ask to either increase or decrease the child support amount, if the child support guidelines show the opposite to be true, FSD will follow the guidelines.

Visitation and custody: Neither FSD nor our office has the authority or ability to resolve these issues. PLEASE CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY. WE CANNOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE.

Child Support and Visitation: If you feel the custodial parent has denied you your visitation rights and you want to stop paying your child support, you still are under a duty to pay your court ordered child support until the court modifies that ordered amount. PLEASE CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY. WE CANNOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE.

AVAILABLE PROGRAMS

MC+ insurance program: MC+ insurance is a low cost medical insurance program that many families qualify for. It allows children to be enrolled in medicaid. The fees are based on income. Call (888) 275-5908 to see if you qualify.

Parent’s Fair Share Program: The Parent’s Fair Share Program is designed to assist the person owing child support to obtain a better paying job through training. To find out more about the Parent’s Fair Share Program or to see if you qualify call (866) 313-9960

Family Support Payment Center: The State of Missouri has created a centralized child support processing center in Jefferson City Missouri. All IV-D payments are now sent to this location. They can be contacted as follows: Family Support Payment Center, P.O. Box 109002, Jefferson City, Missouri 65110-9002 or phone 800-225-0530.

WEB LINKS

Family Support Division (FSD)

Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement

American Public Human Services Association

National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA)

Missouri Child Support Enforcement Association (MCSEA)