It is a real dilemma – you have been paying child support by court order for a while now and you believe that the person that you are paying has a better job or pays less for child care. Everything is fine with custody but you feel like you are paying too much.
One option that folks paying child support may not realize they have is to go through the Family Support Division (“FSD”). Their services are free and can be all the information you will need to access those services is available on-line online (https://mydss.mo.gov/).
Besides being free, FSD has the advantage of having access to both parties’ income information (the work-related daycare is based on documentation from the parent paying it). They will calculate the presumed child support and mail a preliminary decision to both parties and if neither party objects, the new child support will become the order.
The primary disadvantage of using FSD is the delay. Due to the sheer volume of cases that they handle, FSD is often backlogged and it may be months before your case is heard (the same may also true of a case filed in court, and unfortunately there is no way to predict which way will be faster).
Another disadvantage is that FSD will not modify the visitation credit that is given as part of the calculation of the presumed amount of child support (the person paying support is entitled to a credit against the child support based on the number of overnights he or she has with the child or children).
The final disadvantage of using FSD is that they will generally only review a child support order every three years. In contrast, the court can modify a child support order upon a change in the amount of child support so substantial and continuing that the amount of child support is no longer equitable.
The same information that is available to FSD will also be available in the court case, but not all without some cost.
The speed at which the court case moves and the cost is dependent on many factors, the majority of which cannot be controlled: the judge’s docket, your attorney, the other attorney and the behavior of the other party.
Whether you work with FSD or go to court, there are no guarantees and your child support might even go up.
If you want to discuss your options, call us and schedule and appointment today at 314-721-2422.