Recent Case Holding: The trial Court is required to calculate the presumed amount of child support pursuant to Civil Procedure Form 14.

In a recent case from the Missouri Court of Appeals – Eastern District, Husband appeals from the trial Court’s Judgment Decree of Dissolution of Marriage awarding his former wife maintenance, child support, and attorney fees.  When awarding child support, the Court is required to apply a two step analysis.  First the trial Court must calculate the child support pursuant to the Form 14, (Missouri’s child support calculation formula) either by accepting one of the parties’ calculations, or by performing its own Form 14 calculation.  The Form 14 is a mathematical calculation, and is mandatory to insure that the child support guidelines will be considered in every case.  Second, the Court can determine that the Form 14 calculation is “unjust and inappropriate” after the consideration of all relevant factors, and if it so determines, it can award a different support award.  In this case the Form 14 was mostly blank and thus not properly completed, which constituted error by the Court.

In order for the Court to deviate from the Form 14,  a Form 14 must first be calculated, and then the Court must find that the calculation is unjust and inappropriate and enter another amount that is supported by the evidence.  Because the Court failed to initially calculate child support based on the Form 14, the case was remanded to the trial court for proper child support calculation.

PS v. SS, Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District ED99569 – January 2014