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Mississippi Court Records

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What is Child Support, and When Does it Occur in Mississippi?

The law that governs the formation of family units in Mississippi requires parents to arrange for child support during marital dissolution. Child support is a parent’s contribution towards the care and needs of a child until he/she becomes independent. The Mississippi Judiciary and the Division of Child Support aid parents to initiate and enforce this responsibility. Records of these cases are mostly available to the public unless sealed by court order or statute.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide: 

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile 
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved 

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary. 

What is Mississippi Child Support? 

Child support is an order of periodic payment from a responsible parent to support a dependent child, i.e., physically or mentally incapable of self-support (Miss. Code Ann. § 43–19–101).. The court typically issues this order in the process of dissolving a family unit. The parent who makes child support payments is the obligated spouse or the non-custodial parent. The other parent is the custodial parent and receives child support payments.

What Does Child Support Cover in Mississippi?

Mississippi Child Support Guidelines ensure that the amount of award for child support payments covers the average cost of supporting and raising a child in Mississippi. Thus, child support provides for the following:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Housing
  • Educational costs
  • Health insurance
  • Dental/Vision insurance
  • Routine uninsured medical expenses
  • Uninsured extraordinary expenses
  • Childcare costs
  • Travel expenses
  • Extracurricular activities

What is the Average Child Support Payment in Mississippi?

It depends. The state uses a percentage income model to determine how much an obligated spouse must pay to support each qualified child per month. This model uses a flat rate to set the amount of child support (Miss. Code Ann. § 43–19–101).. Thus, a parent with one qualified child pays 14% of his/her monthly income for child support, while one with more than five children pays 26% of his/her monthly income. With a per capita income of $24,369 per annum, this puts the average child support payment between $3,411 and $6,335 per year.

The judiciary reviews the guideline every four years to ensure that payment remains equitable and reflects current economic conditions (Miss. Code Ann. § 43–19–101(5)).. The goal is that every child must receive the kind of support he/she would receive regardless of the relationship between parents. Interested persons may use the child support guideline to estimate the amount payable by him/her.

While parents may arrive at a mutual agreement on the payable amount as part of a divorce settlement agreement, the amount must be greater or equal to the estimate prepared with the guidelines. The presiding judge shall also review the settlement agreement before granting a final decree of divorce.

How Do I Apply for Child Support in Mississippi?

A parent who wishes to apply for child support must complete the application form. Then, enclose the completed application and a check for the application fee of $25.00 in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Mail the request to:

MDHS-Division of Child Support

950 East County Line Road, Suite G

Ridgeland, MS 39157

Upon receiving the application, the Division of Child Support shall send confirmation to the applicant and contact him/her for additional documentation or information if required within thirty days.

Note that the Division of Child Support charges an annual service fee of $35.00 from the parents who receive child support services. The first fee is payable at the time of initial payment and every twelve calendar months. Note that this service fee is independent of other associated court costs.

How Do I Get Out of Paying Child Support in Mississippi?

Mississippi allows the court to terminate child support under conditions such as marriage, maturity, and adoption. The obligatory spouse also has the legal right to request a review every three years. Generally, the circumstances under which the court shall modify a child support order include, but are not limited to:

  • The emancipation of the qualified child;
  • The death of the qualified child;
  • A significant change in income, ranging from job loss to change in employment, inheritance, and lottery winnings;

Note that the content of this section does not replace professional advice from an experienced family lawyer. The circumstances that make a modification request necessary are unique to every case, and an experienced family law attorney is in the best position to provide legal advice. 

What is Back Child Support in Mississippi?  

Back child support in Mississippi is an arrearage, i.e., the amount of money that an obligated spouse owes. Back child support is different from retroactive child support, which refers to a claim for child expenses that a custodial parent incurred from birth up to the application date. Mississippi recognizes retroactive child support (Miss. Code Ann. § 43–19–34).. Following an order by the judiciary, the Division of Child Support shall take administrative and civil actions to ensure that the defaulting parent pays the debt.  

How Do I Get Back Child Support Paid in Mississippi

Submit a complaint to the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the agency in charge of enforcing the child support Program. Generally, the MDHS uses administrative tools such as liens, property seizure, license suspension, passport revocation, tax offset, and credit bureau reporting. The MDHS only initiates a court action when it has exhausted all available mechanisms to compel the defaulting parent to pay the debt.

In 2020, Mississippi offset the back child support for defaulting parents who received the first economic stimulus check under the CARES Act. However, Congress exempted the second round of stimulus from the Treasury Offset Program (TOP).  

Is There a Mississippi Statute of Limitations on Child Support?

Yes. Per Miss. Code Ann. § 15–1–45, a parent who wishes to file for child support payments must establish paternity before the child turns 21 years old. Likewise, the state makes provision for the forgiveness of back child support seven years after the child attains the age of majority at 21 years.

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