Everything you need to know about Child Support Laws in Kansas, updated for 2020.
Kansas child support guidelines deem parental financial care as an equal obligation of both parents whether married or unmarried.
What determines how much child support you pay in sole physical custody cases in the state is how much time you spend with your child. That raises a few questions, can I adjust my parenting time? How do I modify a child support order in Kansas? And plenty more.
But before we answer these questions, we must start at the beginning.
How is child support calculated in Kansas?
On January 1st, 2020, Kansas adopted new child support guidelines. Under these new guidelines, the courts provide a worksheet that parents can use to estimate their obligation. However, the amount generated is not always accurate. Why?
Kansas Child Support Schedules rely on national data regarding average family expenditures for children. But parental situations are not uniform, meaning the same remedy would not fit all cases. Thus, the ultimate decider is a judge or enforcing body.
Under state law, the schedule uses the combined monthly gross incomes of both parents. Below is a snippet:
Kansas shared expenses formula vs. equal parent time formula.
The worksheet linked above is based on the shared expenses formula. This formula guides how parents will divide expenses including enrollment fees, sports fees, field trips, etc.
Conversely, Section III.B.7.b. (equal parenting formula) reads in part:
“The equal parenting time formula is discretionary with the court and may be used to set child support when the court determines that: 1) a shared residential custody arrangement is in the best interest of the minor, and 2) the parent’s share the child’s time equally.”
The equal parenting formula applies if the parents fail to reach an agreement, or if the amount set is unfair to one, or if the shared formula is not in the best interest of the child.
Overall, what is important to remember is that the judge has the final say. So, consult with a family court lawyer near you.
How is child support determined in Kansas?
Kansas Child Support Guidelines balance the needs of the child(ren), cost of work-related child care, the cost of insurance (child), and importantly, the income(s) of both parents.
Furthermore, the CSS (Child Support Services) requires the receiving parent to petition for a child support order stating the amount due each month. Once an order is established, CSS will enforce it. But, remember:
- The CSS cannot represent you in court.
- Retroactive support/Cost of Raising a Child’s Judgment can only be done if the CSS has established paternity.
Does shared custody affect child support in Kansas?
Kansas shared expense formula is used to determine obligation in shared custody cases. This formula places more burden on the higher-earning parent to ensure that the child enjoys the same quality of living he/she would have enjoyed if the parents never parted.
How to modify child support in Kansas
Under state law, parents seeking to modify support must fill:
- A motion to modify child support.
- Child support worksheet.
- Short-form domestic relations declaration of facts (affidavit) with supporting documents.
- Notice of hearing.
- Request and service instruction form.
when to modify child support in Kansas
Under state law, child support modifications are permissible three years after the last order. However, if one parent experiences “a substantial change in circumstances” such as involuntary job loss, a change in earnings, change in the age group of the child, or a change in the residential custody of the child. Either parent can petition for modification.
On the other hand, once the three years have elapsed. A ‘serious change in circumstances’ is no longer a necessity. Thus, you can push for modification. However, retroactive modifications are not allowed.
Remember, appeals rely on the evidence presented to the trial court. Meaning, you must back your petition with solid evidence. In other words, disagreeing with a decision, is not grounds for appeal. Make sense?
Note: parenting time is adjusted via modification in Kansas.
Retroactive child support in Kansas
Although Kansas child support guidelines do not permit retroactive child support modification. A judge can order retroactive child support considering. The obligor’s net resources, the parent’s knowledge of child paternity, and a few other factors.
The point is, you should not sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity form if you are not sure you are the father, if the mother is separated and not legally divorced, or if the mother was legally married at the time or within 300 days. Instead, push for a paternity test.
But, do not forget, Kansas child support laws require that paternity be established before the child turns 18. Furthermore, child support enforcement can be extended indefinitely with appropriate legal action. So, again, consult with a family court attorney.
If you have paternity concerns, call this number 888-757-2445.
what happens if you do not pay child support in Kansas?
The CSS enforces child support guidelines in Kansas, consequently, if a parent falls behind for more than thirty calendar days. The enforcing body has the authority to track the delinquent parent across state borders, or strong-arm the parent via the following measures:
- Report the delinquent parent to credit bureaus.
- The judge may issue an income withholding order that will enable automatic payroll deductions.
- Liens on real property, assets, home, or car.
- Professional and recreational license suspension or revocation.
- If the amount of back child support owed exceeds $2500. The US department of state will either deny or revoke the delinquent parent’s passport.
Overall, what is vital to remember is that child support payments are done under court order. Hence, failure to pay is a violation of the law that is punished as ‘contempt of court’.
The ultimate remedy for failure to honor parental financial obligation is time behind bars. But, delinquent parents can avoid jail or prison time by simply complying with those orders.
What is ‘criminal nonsupport’ in Kansas?
Chapter 21. Crime and Punishments 21-5606 define criminal nonsupport as, one, quote “parental failure, neglect or refusal without lawful excuse to provide maintenance, and support of the parent’s child in necessitous circumstances.”
Two, “an individual’s failure, without cause to provide support such person’s spouse in necessitous circumstances.”
Note that criminal nonsupport in Kansas is a level 10 felony that carries a 7-month jail sentence or a $100,000 fine. However, both parents will have the opportunity to defend their stand point.
Because of that, consult with a family court attorney and establish a worthy defense/offense.
But what if you cannot pay the amount stipulated?
If you are unemployed and receiving benefits, the CSS will collect child support from said benefits.
There are plenty of reasons why you may fail to honor your obligation. Therefore, if you lose your job, or if your circumstances change significantly, for example, you get incarcerated. Contact CSS or your former partner and come up with a payment plan. The good news is, jail is often the court’s last resort.
Recently, Kansas introduced a child support evaders web page. Accordingly, if you fail to pay child support, your face, where you were last seen, and other relevant information may be posted on the internet.
Does child support automatically stop at 18 in Kansas?
In Kansas, child support lasts until emancipation, usually at 18. However, if the child is still in high school, payments will continue until he or she is 19.
Termination of parental rights in Kansas
Child support also ends if parental rights are terminated.
In Kansas, the courts recognize three statutory methods by which parental rights can be terminated. that is, one, a formal petition asking the court to relinquish one’s rights and custody of a child approved by a state agency.
Two, the state can revoke parental rights if it finds that the parents are incapable of adequately caring for a child (ren).
Remember, the law does not allow parents to give up their parental rights simply to avoid child support payments. Thus, it is up to the judge to decide!
How do I get emancipated in Kansas?
Kansas child support guidelines allow minors to free themselves from their parents via emancipation. Emancipation refers to the legal separation between parents and kids. Legally, all kids get emancipated at 18, however, you can free yourself early if:
- You are at least 14 years of age.
- Not living with your parents.
- Have a legal source of income (financially independent)
- With parental consent.
That is according to KSA 38-108 Emancipation of minors.
Overall, Kansas child support guidelines work under the presumption that parents have a legal obligation to provide care and support to their kids. Failure by either parent will result in enforcement action. That may mean, fines, time behind bars, and in worse cases, a wanted poster on the internet.
Therefore, consult with a family court attorney in your area to guarantee your rights, to modify standing orders, and to avoid losing money.
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