The Faulstich Law Firm. St. Louis Family Law Attorneys. -
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What do I do if an administrative child support proceeding has been started against me?

The answer to this question is going to depend on a few things, but first and foremost, you need to respond within the timeline written on your notice and request a hearing. First of all, do you believe you are the father of the child? If not, then you will need to contest the paternity of the child. This does not mean that you need to run out and do your own testing then give that to the court. This is a bad idea for a few reasons: One, the test you choose may not even be admissible to prove or disprove paternity so the court will not even look at the results, and second, you might be wasting money if the child turns out not to be yours. If the child is not your child, and you work with FSD (Family Support Division) to get the correct test, you will not be charged. Additionally, even if the child is your child, the test is likely cheaper through FSD due to the fact that they contract with a laboratory for testing just for this purpose and therefore can command better pricing.
Now, what do you do if you know the child is yours? You can acknowledge Paternity and not have to pay for the genetic testing. This is a serious decision though, so if you are not 100% sure, this is a juncture at which you should consult with an attorney so that you understand where you stand after this acknowledgement from a legal standpoint. It is difficult and often impossible to go back and get the money back that you paid into child support if later on you find out the child is not yours. It is much easier to pay the few hundred dollars for a paternity test if there is even a shadow of a  doubt.
If the child is yours, you will want to make sure that the child support calculation has been done correctly. You will want to respond and provide all the documentation that FSD asks for as far as income statements and participate in any hearings that are scheduled. It is a thousand times better to confront the payment situation from the beginning than it is later. First of all, if the amount should be lower, you want to ensure that the child support begins accumulating at that lower number from the start rather than the higher number. If you do not contest the higher number within the timeframe your letter states, you will be responsible for paying all that has accumulated regardless of whether the number was correct or not. If you are confused or do not know what the right amount is, consulting an attorney is important. A single consultation will likely suffice to let you know if you are paying too much or if you are not, and therefore if you will be successful in contesting the calculated child support amount.

IMPORTANT: Remember that this administrative child support order is not a legal order with enforceable custody rights. You can only get that by filing in the Circuit Courts. If you file in the Circuit Courts, the administrative action will likely be stayed (a legal word for halted) because the Circuit Court proceeding can deal with both support and custody, whereas the administrative courts are only equipped to deal with the support portion of the case.

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