Child Support

Dan Pingelton is a recognized expert in child support. He was previously counsel for the Missouri Family Support Division, where he successfully argued the seminal case of Dye v. Division of Child Support Enforcement in the Missouri Supreme Court, which confirmed the constitutionality of Missouri’s child support enforcement program. He has written numerous articles and given many continuing legal education (CLE) seminars on child support.

Many websites have a link to the Missouri Form 14 for calculating child support. But that’s just a starting place, and no one should “run their numbers” without review by capable counsel. Missouri has a new Form 14 effective beginning in 2017. The new form contains several notable changes from previous forms, including specific provisions for parenting time credits.

Here’s an example: Mom and Dad have a parenting plan that gives them shared custody of their daughter (a senior in high school) on an alternate weekly schedule. Mom has a gross income of $55,000 and Dad makes $60,000. Under the previous law, the court could initially give Dad a 50% credit without making other specific findings unique to the case. But under the form beginning in 2017 (and continuing for four years thereafter), the court will calculate Dad’s “presumed” (or “starting figure”) support using a 34% credit. Under this scenario, the court may then proceed to increase that credit up to 50% if it makes additional specific findings unique to the case. If, for example, Dad’s income was instead $67,000, the new rules encourage the court to look at other unique factors even more carefully before moving beyond a 34% parenting time credit. And when the daughter goes to college, the rules change significantly, sometimes requiring a complete modification of the support provisions.

Many critical issues affecting child support are not addressed in Form 14 or the increasingly complex instructions for it. Rather, they are found in legal decisions written by appellate courts (including the Missouri Supreme Court) – some of the cases that Dan Pingelton has won, and all of the cases he has studied and used to train other lawyers and judges for the past twenty-five years.

Simply put, parents need a good lawyer to obtain the best result possible in the ever-changing law of child support.

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