Split Custody, Dual Form 14s
Form 14 refers to the worksheet created by the Missouri Supreme Court to calculate the presumptive/default child support amount. It is calculated by taking into account, among other things, each parents’ gross income and time spent with the child(ren).
When parents have multiple children, and the custody arrangement for a given child is different, this can complicate the Form 14 calculation. “Split-custody” is when one or more — but not all — of the children primarily resides with each of the parents. A separate From 14 is completed for the number of children primarily residing in the custody of each parent, utilizing the adjusted monthly gross income for both parents but disregarding the children primarily residing in the other parent’s custody. After completion of each Form 14, the smaller amount is subtracted from the greater amount, and the parent with the larger of the two obligation pays the difference between the two obligations. Split-custody situations are the only times that the duel Form 14 calculations are appropriate. Roberts v. Roberts, 391 S.W.3d 921, 922 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013). This approach should not be used to calculated child support where the court orders the parties to share joint physical custody of the children. Id. at 923-24.
It is infinitely easier to see Form 14 calculations in person to better appreciate how the numbers and worksheet function. It is very important to have an attorney familiar with the Form 14 guidelines to reach a positive result, particularly if there is a concern of a litigious party filing future motions to modify down the road. Keep in mind, moreover, that the Court is not obligated to enter the Form 14 amount. A court may rebut the presumed child support under Form 14 as “unjust and inappropriate after considering all relevant circumstances.” Id. at 922-923.
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