Understanding Child Support in Kansas
Child support is payments by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent following a divorce. Child support is part of a child custody agreement that is required after any divorce. The agreement, which can be reached voluntarily between the parents or ordered by a court, describes which parent the child (or children) will live with, how visitation will be scheduled, and how the noncustodial parent will pay child support.
Kansas uses what is called an “income share method” for determining child support payments. The court uses economic tables to determine the cost of raising the child (or children). Using this figure, the court then orders the noncustodial parent to pay a percentage based upon that person’s percent of the total income of both parents.
For example, if the custodial parent earns $1,000 a month and the noncustodial parent $2,000, the noncustodial parent’s share of combined income is 66.6%. Therefore, they would be required to pay 66.6%of the calculated costs of raising the children. If that cost is $1,000 a month, the noncustodial parent’s monthly share would be $666.
This example assumes that the custodial parent has full custody. In a joint custody arrangement, the figures would be adjusted to account for the time each parent has custody.
If the divorcing couple comes to a parenting agreement on their own and submits it to the court for approval, the court will use the above guidelines in approving, disapproving, or modifying the child support payment, as well as the other provisions of the agreement.
Income is both earned and unearned and includes all sources — salary, wages, commissions, overtime pay, royalties, tips, rents, dividends, severance pay, and pensions.
Modifying a Child Support Agreement
If the noncustodial parent has a change in job status or otherwise suffers a loss of income, they can file a motion to modify child support. Anytime either parent’s income rises or falls by 10% or more, they can file a motion. You can also request a change when the child reaches 6 years of age and again at 12 years of age. This is because the support guidelines used for payment calculations change based on the child’s age.
Even if you do not request a modification, the Kansas Department of Child Support Services automatically reviews each child support case every four years.
Note, however, that if you are fired for misconduct, quit working — or voluntarily start working less — to avoid your child support obligations, your modification request will likely be denied.
Termination of Child Support
Child support continues until the child turns 18 years of age — or 19 if they are still in high school — but if custody changes anytime before the legal termination age, child support may be either modified or terminated. If the reason you believe child support should stop is a change in the parenting time (custody) of the child, then that order must also be changed.
Kansas has no requirement that child support continue into the child’s college years, though some parents voluntarily make such an arrangement when establishing their parenting agreement.
Choose a Skilled Attorney
It’s best if both parents can agree on a parenting plan to submit to the court for approval. When both are in agreement on what’s best for the child (or children), it will relieve the stress and emotional trauma of having a judge decide your future for you.
Whether you’re just now considering divorce, or you’re currently paying child support and would like to see it modified, I can meet with you, discuss your situation, and go over your options with you. If you do end up going to court to resolve your custody and support issues, I will represent you and your rights aggressively. If you’re seeking a modification, I am ready to help you document and justify your request.