The NEW Kansas Child Support Guidelines are in Admin Order 284 – effective January 1, 2016.
After the Kansas Child Support Guidelines Committee reviewed the existing guidelines (AO 261) and recommended changes to the guidelines, the Kansas Supreme Court approved new guidelines with an effective of Jan 1, 2016. We at Bradley Software have been closely following the committee’s actions and recommendations. We are updating our 2016 child support program and rigorously testing it.
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During our review of the new guidelines, we’ve noted important changes that Kansas lawyers and litigants need to know about.
Changes in Kansas Child Support calculations.
1. Party identification labels: (i.e., same sex marriage considerations) The former standard labels “Mother” and “Father” are now replaced with the more generic “Party Name” and “Party Name.”
The Bradley Child Support Calculator still provides the flexibility to use whatever labels you wish so long as they are spelled differently. You can use “John” and “Jon,” but not “Mary” and “Mary.”
You can, of course, still use “Mother” and “Father” where appropriate and not confusing.
2. Support table amounts are generally increased; Extended income factors are increased, and Poverty levels are updated
3. The Not Less Than Zero rule (NLTZ ) – which relieved the support recipient from paying any part of the child’s direct expenses (an item normally paid entirely by the support recipient) is now discretionary with the judge. You will find a setting in the 2016 Options page to turn the NLTZ rule on or off.
4. The concept of “Extraordinary expenses” has been deleted. This concept, which was added to “Special Needs” category in 2012, is now rejected except to the extent included in the new definition of “Direct Expenses.”
Direct expenses are defined to be “fixed expenses paid directly to a third party, such as a school, church, recreational club, or sports club to allow participation in an activity or event, or to attend school.” Direct expenses also include all necessary supplies and equipment purchased to support such activity. Direct expenses include all school and school-related expenses including school lunches, as well as extracurricular activities, and clothing.
6. A warning is now included about the impact of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and the penalties for failing to provide health insurance for a child. The penalties are assessed against the parent claiming the child as a dependent and may have some impact on parental decisions about sharing the dependent deductions.
“Generally, because of the ACA, the person claiming the dependency exemption is responsible for ensuring that health insurance is provided for the minor children. If health insurance is not provided, the person claiming the exemption risks being penalized for failure to provide. As such, the parties may not want to share the tax exemption(s). In this situation, the value of the exemption(s) must be determined as provided in Appendix V which amount should then be added on line C.3 of the worksheet.”
7. Equal Parenting Time percentages have been adjusted downward where clothing is maintained in each parent’s household.
8. Updated Tax rates are included in 2016 Bradley Child Support Calculators.
9. Updated Interstate Pay Differential data included in 2016 Bradley Child Support Calculators.
1o. Margins on Worksheets and Reports have been adjusted to meet revised formatting requirements of several Kansas District Courts.