Interest Awards on Past Due Support and Extracurricular/Uninsured Medical Expenses

Family law practitioners are often asked – “How much can I truly recover; it is not my fault I have to come back to Court.”  This is an important question for any party who is forced to “chase down” their ex-spouse for past due support and various expenses.   One penalty option for the non-complying party is to include an award for post judgment interest.

Missouri provides straightforward statutory guidelines for this type of recovery.  Pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. §454.520, past due child support and maintenance payments accrue interest of one percent per month.  The interest is calculated as simple interest, accruing at the close of business day on the last day of each month and calculated by multiplying the total arrearage existing at the end of the day, less the amount of that month’s installments, by the applicable interest rate.  (Id.)

The key to collecting the interest on past due support is to ensure your support payments are pursuant to a judgment or order of a Missouri Court.  On September 20, 2016, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District handed down a surprising decision regarding post judgment interest.  The Court stated that post judgment interest must be set forth in the judgment. See Thomas Dennis and Sonya Cherry v. Riezman Berger, P.C., et al., No. ED103904 (Mo. App. ED 2016).  If your specific circumstance does not include an existing Court order, you may first need to appear in Court to obtain a judgment prior to collecting interest, and ensure your judgment specifically allows for the interest collection.

This will likely be your best mechanism for collecting the monies paid for extracurricular and uninsured medical expenses for your family as well.  In all non-tort Missouri cases, post-judgment interest shall be allowed on a non-tort judgment at the rate of nine percent per annum.  See Mo. Rev. Stat. §408.040.  Absent a prior judgment specifying the amount owed, it may be most prudent for you to first obtain an order from the Court for a specific dollar amount, and then include your post judgment interest.  This scenario will increase your chances for a collection with penalties.

Contact a domestic relations attorney at FRANKEL, RUBIN, KLEIN, DUBIN, SIEGEL & PAYNE, P.C. to discuss how this information may apply to your specific circumstances.  Please note this information is not intended as legal advice, but for general informational purposes only.

 

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