Child support requirements and regulations can vary from state to state. If the child moves from one state to another, the requirements for child support may change. While the states may have similar child support laws, it is important to know their variations to make sure that you do not face penalties.

Who Needs to Pay Child Support in Mississippi?

In the state of Mississippi, every divorce or separation of a child’s parents will require on or both parents to pay child support. Both parents have a obligation to pay for and support the child, but only the non-custodial parent makes child support payments. The parent that does not have custody and spends less time with the child would have to pay for child support. The duty to pay for child support continues until age 21, unlike some states where it ends at the age of 18

How Is Child Support Calculated in Mississippi?

Mississippi has established guidelines that determines who has to pay for child support by calculating the child’s parents net income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Child support in Mississippi can be confusing to determine, but it starts with an easy formula. A child’s non-custodial parent will be required to put aside a certain percentage of his or her income each month for support based upon Mississippi’s child support guidelines. For example, if you expect to be the parent provides most of the support, you can simply multiply your monthly-adjusted gross income (gross pay less taxes) by the following percentages depending upon the number of children you will be supporting.

The court can also modify the child support payments depending on the child’s expenses, needs, and expectations.

How Do Get Child Support?

To petition for child support payments from the other parent in Mississippi, the custodial parent must establish paternity first. If paternity has been established, the court can order child support payments as part of a divorce or child support lawsuit. Parents who want to enforce child support can apply for enforcement services through the Mississippi Department of Human Services. This is a state agency that helps citizens of Mississippi collect child support.

Another way to get child support in the state of Mississippi is through the courts by filing a motion to enforce the other parent to pay for child support. The petitioning parent must prove that they have custody of the child all or most of the time and needs support to take care of the child’s needs and expenses.

What If You Don’t Pay Child Support?

If a parent does not pay child support that is due in Mississippi, the parent that is owed the child support payment can enforce the payments by take legal action. 

Some legal actions that can be taken if child support is not paid is:

  • Judge can file legal action and hold parent in contempt of the court which can result in jail time
  • The parent can intercept the owing parent’s tax refund
  • Can report parent with past due payments to credit bureaus, which will hurt their credit
  • Can refer cases for federal prosecution
  • Can garnish wages from employer
  • If the owing parent does not have a job or is not employed, asking the judge to enforce them to obtain employment
  • Intercepting funds from unemployment checks
  • Liens can be placed on any personal injury awards 

What Recourse Can the Other Parent Have if You Don’t Pay for Support?

There are many legal actions that can be taken by the receiving parent to collect support from the paying parent. A parent who does not pay child support may be charged with contempt of court which can result in jail time, Delinquent parents can be reported to credit bureaus, have his or her driver’s license suspended and passport revoked so they do not leave the country. An unemployed parent who owes child support can also be ordered to seek employment.

How Can You Stop Paying Child Support?

In order to stop paying child support in Mississippi, one of the options a paying parent can argue is that they are not the child’s parent. To do this, the parent arguing would have to establish this through a paternity test. In Mississippi, child support payments can automatically stop through emancipation. Emancipation of a child requires finding that the child:

  1. entered into a valid marriage;
  2. the child is on active duty in the army; or
  3. the child willingly lives separate and apart from his/her parents or guardian, with the consent of the parents or guardian, and that the child can support.

How Can You Modify Paying Child Support?

A paying parent can also modify an existing child support order. This can be done by proving that your income has changed and you are unable to pay the existing child support order. A receiving parent can also file a motion to have the child support modified by proving to the court that the expenses of the child has changed and you would need more money for support. In Mississippi, the change must be considered substantial which amounts to 25% changed income or 25% increased expense in both of these cases.

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

If you are seeking to modify a child support order or need assistance in enforcing a parent to pay child support, it may be wise to speak with a local Mississippi child support lawyer to discuss your options, especially if you are planning to go to court. Getting help from a family law attorney would be the best option to get the child support that you need.