Like child custody, child support can be a difficult legal issue. Both parents want to provide for their children, but may be concerned about being able to afford to pay child support while maintaining separate households. In cases involving initial child support orders or requests to modify child support orders, it is helpful to have a skilled family lawyer to help you through the process and ensure that your legal rights are protected.
Under Kansas law, both parents have a legal obligation to support their children. In cases where the parents are not living together due to a divorce or break-up, child support may be ordered to ensure that the child is adequately supported. Typically, the parent that (1) has a higher income and (2) has less physical custody of the child will be required to pay child support to the other parent.
Kansas has adopted state-wide guideline that look primarily at (1) the gross monthly incomes of each parent and (2) the work-related day care and health insurance costs for the children. Courts may consider other factors when making child support determinations.
This may include:
Looking at a wide variety of factors helps a court make the best possible decision for a child. If a child has significant special needs and requires ongoing medical care, for example, a child support order may be higher than it would be for a child without those needs. Child support usually is paid until the child is 18 and has graduated from high school. In some circumstances, such as when a child has special needs, child support obligations may extend past age 18.
When a court makes a decision on child support, that order is legally binding. Child support is usually paid through the Kansas Payment Center in Topeka through an income withholding order. This means that if you are ordered to pay child support, the amount will be withheld from your paycheck each month and then provided to your former partner.
In many situations, a family’s circumstances change over time. One parent may have a significant increase or decrease in income, or a child’s needs may be greater due to an accident, injury or health issue. If there is a “material change in circumstances,” a child support order may be modified. A material change may include:
Importantly, child support modification orders only apply to future payments. If you believe that you have a material change in circumstances affecting your support obligation, it is critical to file a request for modification as soon as possible. An experienced family law attorney can advise you on whether your situation qualifies as a material change in circumstances.
If you need to establish or modify a child support order, having a skilled family law attorney can be extremely helpful in presenting your case to a judge. Jeffers Law Office has substantial experience in Kansas child support law, and will explain the process and likely outcomes to you. If you need assistance with a child support or modification order, contact Mark Jeffers at 914-385-LAWS (5297) for a free initial consultation. We offer legal services to clients throughout the Kansas City area (Kansas only), including Johnson, Wyandotte, Leavenworth, and Miami Counties.