Supreme Court adopts updated child support guidelines
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Posted by: Beth Warrington
The Kansas Supreme Court has adopted updated child support guidelines that judges will use to determine parents' child support payment obligations beginning January 1, 2016.
The updated guidelines reflect changes in spending on children since the guidelines were last updated four years ago. The updates are expected to increase child support obligations by up to 3.5 percent across all income groups.
The updated guidelines will be used to determine new child support obligations after their January 1, 2016, effective date. They will not immediately affect existing support obligations, although they may be used when a parent seeks to modify an existing child support order, or the parents' financial circumstances are reviewed by the court.
Federal law requires states to review their child support guidelines every four years, and Kansas has reviewed and revised its guidelines nine times since they were initially established in 1989.
A 14-member advisory committee spent more than a year reviewing the guidelines and making proposed updates, which were open for public review and comment before the committee made its final recommendations to the court.
The committee includes parents who either pay or receive child support, and attorneys, judges, and tax professionals with expertise in child support.
An economist with Wichita State University helped with the review by examining data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that show trends in how parents spend money on children. The economist noted the consumer price index increased by more than 8.5 percent over the last four years.
Child support pays for housing, clothing, transportation, recreation, health care, child care, and other expenses that would have been shared by the parents had the family remained intact.
The updated child support guidelines, economist's report, and public comment results are available on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under Programs.