CHILD SUPPORT ATTORNEYS IN MANHATTAN, KANSAS
Divorce can be an emotionally overwhelming experience for both spouses. However, when children are involved, the stakes are raised even higher. Child support becomes a critical element in these kinds of divorces.
If you’re considering divorce or in the process of one in Kansas, you don’t have to go through it alone. The Oleen Law Firm can help you navigate Kansas’ divorce and child support laws. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested—and whether you’re looking to establish a child support arrangement or modify an existing one—we’re here to offer experienced guidance and reliable counsel. Our attorneys proudly serve clients in Manhattan and Junction City, Kansas.
UNDERSTANDING CHILD SUPPORT IN KANSAS
In Kansas, like other states, one parent will generally become the custodial parent and the other will be obligated to make child support payments. Of course, if the parents share custody, the arrangement may differ, but the custodial/non-custodial scenario is fairly typical.
If you divorce in Kansas, the legal standard is that child support and custodial arrangements must be in the child’s “best interest.” The definition of best interest, of course, can change over time, and as a result, child support payments may rise or fall, but if a judge is asked to determine child support, they will use what is called the income share method.
FACTORS CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING AMOUNT
The calculation starts with how much it costs to raise a child each month, and then the monthly incomes of both parents and the time spent raising the child (or children) are factored in. Suppose that the custodial parent has primary care of the child and the cost of raising a child is determined to be $1,000 a month, then the relative percentage of each parent’s income will be factored in.
If the custodial parent earns $1,000 a month and the non-custodial parent $2,000 a month, the non-custodial parent’s share is thus two-thirds of the combined income, so he or she would be obligated to pay $666 a month, or two-thirds of the expected monthly expenses of raising the child.
Income is computed based on both unearned and earned sources, meaning wages plus any other revenue stream, such as interest or dividends on investments.
The guidelines for monthly child-raising costs can change based on the unique circumstances of the child, such as special needs for health care or education. This is why it’s vital to reach out to a family law attorney to discuss your particular situation.
MODIFYING AN EXISTING AGREEMENT
If either parent experiences a material change in their income, up or down at least 10 percent, then the child support percentages of each parent can change. This can occur if one parent loses a job, gets a promotion, or starts a new, higher-paying job.
However, if one parent decides to avoid their responsibility by quitting their job or working less to earn less, the court can use what is called “imputed income” to force that parent to pay their fair share. Imputed income means what that person should be earning based on their experience, education, and field of work.
Additionally, Kansas law uses different calculations to determine the expense of raising a child based on their age. Thus, you can request a modification when the child turns six, and again when they turn 12. The Kansas Department of Child Support Services also automatically reviews your case every four years.
TERMINATION OF CHILD SUPPORT
Payments continue until the child turns 18, or 19 if he or she has not yet finished high school at age 18. According to Kansas law, when the child reaches 18 years of age, the support will terminate unless any of the following occur:
The parent or parents agree, by written agreement approved by the court, to pay support beyond that time.
The child reaches 18 years of age before completing high school education, in which case the support shall not automatically terminate, unless otherwise ordered by the court, until June 30 of the school year during which the child became 18 years of age if the child is still attending high school.
The child is still a high school student after June 30 of the school year during which the child became 18 years of age. In this case, the court may order support to continue through the school year during which the child becomes 19 years of age, so long as the child is a bona fide high school student and the parents jointly participated or knowingly agreed to the decision which delayed the child's completion of high school.
CHILD SUPPORT ATTORNEYS IN MANHATTAN, KANSAS
If you’re considering divorce, in the process of divorce, or already have a custodial-child support arrangement in place and you want to know your options, contact the Oleen Law Firm. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of family law in Kansas and can counsel and guide you during this difficult time. Contact us now for a free consultation.