Kansas provides for two basic types of parental custody of children; Joint Custody and Sole Custody. The essential difference has to do with which parent makes decisions affecting the child. In Joint Custody, both parents are entitled to a voice in the decision making process regarding the child’s residence, religious training, medical treatment, education and similar major decisions. In sole custody, the decisions are made by the parent who has been awarded the child’s custody.
Support variations are another matter. Kansas has several forms of residential arrangements which have an impact on child support obligations:
Primary Residence The Court may designate one parent as the “primary residential parent,” in which case the other parent (the “non-primary residential parent”) has “parenting time” with the child as ordered by the Court. The primary residential parent pays the child’s direct expenses (for clothing, education, activities, etc., but excluding housing, utilities, food and transportation), using the primary’s income and the child support payable by the non-primary parent. If more than 35% of the child’s time is spent with the non-primary parent, reductions of up to 15% of child support are available. Uninsured medical expenses for the child are divided between the parents in proportion to their incomes.
Equal Parenting Time Where the parents share the child’s time equally (or “nearly equally”) an adjustment is available to reflect the cost savings realized by the primary residential parent when the child is with the other parent. The court may use the actual savings, or apply a formula called the “Equal Parenting Time Formula.” The court must also designate which parent will pay the child’s “direct expenses.” This is the “Equal Parenting Time” adjustment. Uninsured medical expenses for the child are still divided between the parents in proportion to their incomes.
Shared Expense Agreement Where parents enter into a written agreement which provides for the equal (or “nearly equal”) sharing of their child’s time and the equal sharing or allocation of the child’s direct expenses, the support obligation of each parent is separately calculated, and the difference is then divided by two with the higher obligation parent paying the result to the other parent. The parent’s agreement must be approved by the Court and contain provisions for mediation of disputes, and uninsured medical expenses for the child are still divided between the parents in proportion to their incomes.
Divided Custody In families with several children, where some (but not all) live with one parent, and the rest live with the other, a child support calculation is made with respect to the children in each household. The child obligation of one parent is then compared with the obligation of the other, and the difference is paid by the higher obligated parent to the other.