Overview of Child Support in Kansas Part I – Legal Issues in Determining Child Support

Whether you are involved in a divorce or paternity action, the court will make child support orders based on the Kansas Child Support Guidelines.  The child support guidelines in Kansas are rules that govern how judges determine child support.  The factors that typically affect a guideline child support calculation in Kansas include the following:

  • The income of both parents
  • Amount of any alimony (spousal support) payments
  • Custodial time either parent spends with the minor children
  • Costs associated with special needs of the children
  • Out of pocket costs for daycare or childcare
  • Other children for whom either parent is legally obligated to pay child support
  • The number of children of the relationship

While there are other limited expenses that may be relevant such as unusual expenses involved in visitation if the children live out of state, the court does not generally consider a parents ordinary expenses, such as rent, utilities, food, car payment, gas or the like.  This can make a child support order feel very oppressive and unfair.  Unfortunately, the court has little discretion to deviate from the guideline child support calculation and will rarely do so.

This means that the factors that a parent can control that have a substantial impact on child support play a significant role in any child support order.  While a person’s household expenses have minimal impact on child support, there are other issues that make a calculation of child support complicated.  These issues typically require an experienced Kansas family law attorney including the following:

Self-Employment: A parent who is self-employed may have income that is difficult to calculate.  Many self-employed people deduct items that are not appropriate for purposes of calculating income for child support, such as certain dining out and entertainment expenses.  Our experienced Kansas child custody lawyers carefully analyze financial documents including profit and loss statements, tax returns, bank statements and other documents to ensure that the self-employed income of the other parent is calculated properly.

Unemployed/Underemployed Parent: A parent may not elect to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed to increase, decrease or avoid child support.  An income will typically be “imputed” to a parent based on their earning capacity, which is determined by factors like past employment, education and occupational training.  If your children are extremely young (i.e. not yet school aged), the court may not impute income to a stay at home parent.

Hidden Income/Working under the Table: Some parents work off the books or hide income to affect child support.  If you believe that the other parent is hiding income or failing to report his or her actual income, it is important to obtain an experienced Kansas child support attorney who can investigate closely to determine if the other parent is accurately reporting his or her income.

Child Custody Disputes: One of the most important factors in determining a child support order is the time-share between the parents.  The more time a parent spends with their children the greater the benefit in terms of child support.  While this is not the main reason a parent should seek to spend significant periods of time with one’s children, we can advise you regarding how a proposed custody order would impact child support obligations.

Parents are required to complete a Child Support Worksheet whenever child support is at issue, which will ask for information including the number of children, age of each child, income of both parents, income tax information, cost of daycare or family health insurance expenses and the percentage of parenting time.

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