Complex Family Structures and the MFA

Complex Family TreeA customer recently wrote:

Mom has three children, one of whom resides with her and two other children by separate fathers and each of those children lives with their father.  We need to establish what child support is payable by Mom for the two children who do not reside with her.

What child support table should we use and why?  It would seem to be “double dipping” if we are using a multiple child adjustment and also giving credit for the child support she is paying on the other child.  Can you please assist?

She was absolutely right and I quite agreed! Using an MFA of 2 and subtracting the CS paid for both of the prior children on a single worksheet would indeed be a “double dip.” The key is to use two worksheets to determine the support for Mom’s children who live with their fathers.

The MFA only applies to include the third child in Mom’s primary custody in the calculations of support for each of the other two children who live with their fathers.

Let’s call the children (in birth order) A, B & C. Each of the prior children (A & B) needs a separate worksheet on which Mother’s support obligation is determined. To calculate her CS obligation to Father A, use an MFA of 1 (for “C,” the child presently in her residential custody) and subtract the support she pays for B, the child in Father B’s primary custody. Then run a worksheet for her obligation to Father B also using an MFA of 1, and subtracting the CS she pays to Father A (determined in worksheet run 1).

You have to run a series of worksheets using the CS obligation determined in the prior run until the exact amount of her CS obligation for A & B stabilize, since those two values are mutually interdependent. Of course, running a series of calculations is easy with the Bradley Child Support Calculator; just keep track of the CS obligation determined in each run and use it as the “child support (paid) for other children” in the next run!  Pretty soon the two values (for A & B) will stabilize. Save the last two worksheets and use them to show the support payable for the other two children (A & B).

You can then run a child support worksheet for child “C” (if needed), using the sum of the support payable for A & B as “Child Support (Paid) for Other Children” on the Income Adjustments screen.

About Brad Short

CEO : Bradley Software; Of Counsel at Short, Borth & Thilges, Attorneys at Law, LLC, Overland Park, Kansas. Born Birmingham, Alabama, December 27, 1941; admitted to bar,1966, Kansas and U.S. District Court, District of Kansas; 1975, U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit; 1976, U.S. Supreme Court. Education: University of Colorado (B.A., 1963; J.D., 1966). Contributing Author, Practitioner's Guide to Kansas Family Law, Kansas Bar Association, 1997. Listed in: The Best Lawyers in America, Family Law, every year from 1987 through 2013. Member, Technology Advisory Committee, Kansas Judicial Council, 1991-1998. Member: Bourbon County, 1966-1977 (President, 1970-1971), Johnson County (Member: Ethics and Grievance Committee, 1984-1998; Family Law Bench/Bar Committee, 1984-), Kansas and American (Vice-Chair, Solo Practitioners and Small Firms Committee, Economics of Law Practice Section, 1984-1985) Bar Associations; Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, 1974-1984 (State Treasurer, 1975-76; Member, Board of Governors, 1974-1984). Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 1994-2013 . Practice areas: Family Law.
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