The Child Support enforcement Unit (SEU) uses the tools of its office to secure wage withholding orders to enforce existing orders. The SEU can establish child support payments through an administrative order. If paternity needs to be established, the case comes to our office to file and prosecute a lawsuit to determine paternity and to establish an order of support. If a parent isn’t paying support the case comes to us for legal action. Parents who are owed support seek help first from the SEU of the Department of Social Services . Their phone number is 417-629-3080.
Our ultimate goal in each collection case is to establish what is owed and to get payments coming in from the parent who is supposed to pay. In every case we must prove that the parent who is supposed to pay is able to work, so that he or she is able to pay.
If a parent, obligated to pay child support, moves away, we assist the parent entitled to support with initiating an action that is referred to the state where the non-paying parent is located.
For those who are able to pay, but simply refuse, putting them in jail for contempt to try to convince them to pay or prosecuting them for criminal non-support is the answer. Of course, they can’t pay if they go to jail, so this creates a real “catch 22.”
If you are a parent entitled to support for children in your care, the most helpful thing you can do for the SEU and the Prosecutor is provide information about past and present employment of the parent who is not paying his or her support. Keep track of your income and your expenses so the court can understand what amount of child support you need.