Judge creates child support court in Boone County
COLUMBIA — A Boone County judge is starting a child support court to help parents who do not have custody of their children.
Judge Kimberly Shaw said the goal is to help those parents make their current child support payments, work on paying any child support they owe and build a relationship with their children.
"This, to me, approaches back-owed child support in a way that’s better for the children and our community,” Shaw said.
The new court will allow child support cases to be filed as civil instead of criminal. But the prosecuting attorney's office would have to approve cases to be heard in this court.
The judge said, in addition to helping parents and children, she hopes the new court will shorten the public defenders's wait list. In a press release, the court said there were 20 parents on the public defender's wait list. Some had been waiting to be assigned an attorney for more than a year.
The county is starting the new court in partnership with the Fathers Committed to Families Program, which can also include mothers.The program helps parents gain employment and make other changes in their lives.
The first cases will be heard on April 11.