The Kansas Child Support Guidelines are a basis for establishing and reviewing child support orders in Kansas. The calculation of child support using the Kansas Child Support Guidelines creates a rebuttable presumption that child support is reasonable.
The Kansas Child Support Guidelines were developed based upon national data regarding average family expenditures for children. Your child support depends on three major factors: (1) the parents’ combined income, (2) the number of children in the family, and (3) the ages of the children. The Kansas Child Support Worksheet uses gross income. Federal and state withholding taxes and social security are already considered within the child support schedules.
Child support provides for the needs of the child. These needs include direct expenses such as food, clothing, school, and entertainment, and indirect expenses such as housing, utilities, and transportation. Generally, normal extracurricular activities fees are included in a parent’s child support obligation and are already accounted for in the child support schedules. In the Matter of the Marriage of Ronen, 26 P.3d 1287; 29 Kan. App.2d 443 (2001).
What is Domestic Gross Income?
In calculating child support the court looks to domestic gross income. The Guidelines define “Domestic Gross Income” as “income from all sources, including that which is regularly or periodically received, excluding public assistance and child support received for other children in the residency of either parent.” (Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section II. D) In calculating domestic gross income the court may need to consider historical information, such as the seasonal nature of employment and historical average of overtime pay. The guidelines use the gross income of the wage earner, regardless of whether it is taxable or nontaxable, to compute children support payments.
How is Domestic Gross Income figured when a party is self-employed?
Domestic Gross Income for self employed parents includes gross income less reasonable business expenses. Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section II E. (3.)
“Self employment gross income is income from self-employment and all other income including that which is regularly and periodically received from any source excluding public assistance and child support received for other children in the residency of either parent.” Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section II E(1).
“Reasonable Business Expenses are those actual expenditures reasonably necessary for the production of income.” Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section II E(2).
What is Child Support Income?
Child Support Income is the Domestic Gross Income after adjustments for child support paid or received in other cases and for maintenance paid or received in the present case or other cases. Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section II G.
If a party is unemployed or underemployed can income be imputed?
Income may be imputed to a parent in appropriate circumstances. NOTE: Income may be imputed to the parent having primary residency but should not result in a higher support obligation for the other parent.
(1) At a minimum, absent substantial justification, it should be assumed that a parent is able to earn at least the federal minimum wage and to work 40 hours per week.
(2) Income may be imputed to a parent if the parent is deliberately unemployed or under employed.
(3) When a parent receives significant in-kind payments that reduce personal living expenses as a result of employment, such as a company car, free housing, or reimbursed meals, the value of such reimbursement shall be added to gross income.
KANSAS CHILD SUPPORT SPECIAL APPLICATIONS
“Divided residency is when parents have two or more children and each parent has residency of one or more children.” Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section III B. 5. In a divided residency situation a child support worksheet should be prepared for each family unit. To determine total child support obligation the lower net parental child support obligation is subtracted from the higher amount. The difference is the amount of child support the party having the higher obligation will pay to the party with the lower obligation.
For example, suppose MOM and DAD have two children, Sam and Lisa. Suppose Sam lives primarily with DAD and Lisa lives primarily with MOM. DAD’s child support worksheet shows a child support obligation for MOM of $550.00 per month. MOM’s child support worksheet shows a child support obligation for DAD of $650.00 per month. DAD’s total child support obligation is calculated by subtracting $550.00 from $650.00, making his total child support obligation $100.00 per month.
Multiple Family Application
“The Multiple Family can be used to adjust the child support obligation of the parent not having primary residency when that parent has a legal financial responsibility for support of other children who reside with that parent.” Kansas Child Support Guidelines, Section III B (6.) The multiple family adjustment may only be used when establishing an original order for child support or an increase in child support is sought by the parent having primary residency. In the event, that using the Multiple Family Application results in a gross child support obligation below the poverty level the use of the application is discretionary.
Shared Residency Situations
“Shared residency is the regular sharing of residential custody on an equal or nearly equal basis.” Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section III B. 7. To qualify as shared custody (1) blocks of time must be regular and equal or nearly equal and (2) parties must be sharing direct expenses of the child on an equal or nearly equal basis. Shared custody will usually result in a significantly lower child support obligation for the party with the higher parental child support obligation.
To calculate child support in a shared custody arrangement the amount of the lower net parental child support obligation is subtracted from the higher amount and the difference is then multiplied by .50. So, for example if Dad’s child support obligation is $1000.00 and Mom’s child support obligation is $1250.00, Mom’s total child support obligation payable to Dad will be 50% of $250.00 or $125.00.
Residence with a Third Party
If a child is residing with a third party, Mother and Father will each be obligated to pay their respective amounts of child support as indicated by the child support worksheet.
Interstate Pay Differential
Since the cost of living may vary among states, if the parties do not both live in Kansas or reside in the same metropolitan area there may be an adjusted monthly income figure used to equate a parties child support obligation. The adjusted monthly income figure is called the “interstate pay differential” and can be calculated by using the “Average Annual Pay by State and Industry” as reported by the United States Department of Labor Statistics. Updates to the Average Annual Pay by State and Industry can be obtained by the Bureau of Labor Statistic http://www.bls.gov/cew/.
Suppose, for example, Dad lives in Arizona and Mom lives in Kansas. The minor children reside with Mom in Kansas. The average annual pay in 2001 for someone in Arizona was $33,408.00. The average annual pay in 2001 for someone in Kansas was $30,153.00. To determine the value by which Dad’s income should be reduced to determine his adjusted income, you would take $30,153.00 divided by $33,408.00. Dad’s adjusted income would be his monthly income reduced by the value of .9026. In other words, if Dad makes $3000 per month his income adjusted by the interstate pay differential would be $2708.00.
Kansas Child Support Adjustments
After each parent’s total child support obligation is calculated using the Kansas Child Support Guidelines Schedules, the court may order adjustments be made to the obligations under multiple circumstances. These circumstances are addressed below:
1. Health, Dental, Orthodontic and Optometric Premiums - the cost to the parent or parent’s household to provide for health, dental, orthodontic or optometric insurance coverage for the child is added to the parties gross child support obligation. The parent paying for these premiums should be given an adjustment for the reasonable out of pocket fee for said coverage. To determine the cost of a child’s insurance premium if said cost is not itemized, the cost single coverage should be subtracted from the cost of family coverage and “the cost of family coverage should be divided among the number of individuals who are covered by the insurance and that the number should be multiplied by the number of children subject to the child support order.” In the Matter of the Marriage of Johnson, 24 Kan. App. 2d 631 (1997).
2. Work Related Child Care Costs- “actual, reasonable, and necessary child care costs paid to permit employment or job search of a parent should be added to the support obligation.” Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section IV D. 5. In determining actual child care costs the following factors are to be considered:
a. The monthly child support figure is the averaged annual amount, including variations of the summer.
b. The actual amount of child care paid is the net amount of child care minus any reimbursements.
c. The projected child care expense should be reduced by the anticipated tax credit for child care. In determining the total cost for child care both the federal credit and the Kansas credit should be subtracted from the monthly child care costs to determine the basic child care cost.
3. Long Distance Parenting Time Costs—a parent may receive an adjustment to his or her child support obligation for any “substantial and reasonable long-distance transportation/communication costs directly associated with parenting time.” Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section IV E. (1.)
4. Parenting Time Adjustment—the court may allow a parenting time adjustment in favor of either parent. In doing so the court must take into account the fixed obligations of the parent having primary residency that are attributable to the child; and the increased cost of additional parenting time to the parent having non-primary residency. Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section IV E. (2.) A parenting time adjustment is not allowed in shared custody arrangements. Parenting Time adjustments may be appropriate under the following circumstances.
a. The child spends 35% or more of the child’s time with the parent not having primary residency. In calculating the parenting time adjustment, the child’s time at school or in day care shall not be considered. The following table can be used to calculate the appropriate parenting time adjustment.
Nonresidential Parent’s Parenting
% of Child’s Time Time Adjustment
35% - 39% - 5%
40% - 44% -10%
45% - 49% -15%
Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section IV E. 2.
b. If a child spends fourteen or more consecutive days with the parent not having primary residency, the support amount of the parent, not having primary residency may be proportionally reduced by up to 50% of that monthly child support obligation.
c. The court may make an adjustment based on the historical non-exercise of parenting time as set forth in the parenting plan. Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section IV E. 2.
5. Income Tax Consideration—parties can agree to share the actual economic benefits of dependency exemption for a minor child. An adjustment can be given to the appropriate party as a result of such agreement.
6. Special Needs— “Special needs of the child are items which exceed the usual and ordinary expenses incurred, such as ongoing treatment for health problems, orthodontics care, special education, or therapy costs, which are not considered elsewhere in the support order or in computations on the worksheet.” Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section IV E. 5. “Special needs are items that are not prevalent in the general population” and do not include normal extracurricular activities. In the Matter of the Marriage of Ronen (2001).
7. Support of Children Beyond the Age of Majority--- The parties agreement for a parent to continue to support a child beyond the age of majority, may be considered in setting child support, in addition, the fact that apparent is currently supporting a child of the parties in college may be considered if the parent having primary residency seeks to increase the child support for the benefit of any of the children under the age of eighteen. Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section IV E 5.
8. Overall Financial Conditions of the Parties--- The financial situation of the parties may be considered to deviate from the child support guidelines. For example, if a party had two jobs prior to the dissolution of the marriage then the court may consider it appropriate to consider both incomes, but if the party obtained employment following the dissolution of the marriage in order to meet the additional financial responsibilities it could be argued that the additional income should not be included in the child support calculations. In making a decision to deviate from the child support guidelines the best interest of the child must be paramount.
MODIFYING CHILD SUPPORT
Kansas Courts have continuing jurisdiction over child support issues when there is a “material change in circumstances.” Pursuant to the Kansas Child Support Guidelines the following may constitute a material change in circumstances:
1. A change in financial situation that would warrant a 10% increase or decrease in a party’s child support obligation except that:
a. A change in income resulting in an increase/ decrease in a party’s child support income because of a bonus or second job does not necessarily establish a material change in circumstances.
b. An increase in the gross income of the parent having primary residency is not a material change in circumstances for purposes of increasing the child support obligation.
2. The 7th and 16th birthdays of the child.
3. Emancipation of the child.
4. Failure to comply with the terms of a positive or negative child support adjustment. For example, not exercising parenting time or failure to utilize the special needs allocation.
A parent is obligated by the Kansas Child Support Guidelines to notify the other parent of any change in financial circumstances, including but not limited to income, work related child care costs, and health insurance premiums which if changed could constitute a material change in circumstances. Kansas Child Support Guidelines Section V A. Upon written receipt of a request to provide financial information, a parent has thirty (30) days to provide the requested information in writing to the other parent. If one refuses to provide the requested information the court can find the non-complying party responsible for the costs and expenses, including attorney fees, incurred in obtaining the requested information.
To reach the author, please call Trina Nudson at (913) 438-4636
or send e-mail to Trina@yourchild1st.com.
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