THE 2019 PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE KANSAS CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES (continued)

In our previous Blog, we addressed most of the changes in the Advisory Committee’s proposed changes to the 2019 Kansas Child Support Guidelines, but we saved a few for the following notes.

As previously mentioned, the 2019 revision proposals fall generally into two broad categories, the first of which was covered in some detail in the previous blog.

  1. General Comments – Changes to Particular Guideline Topics
  2. Omissions – Typos and Errata

We turn now to the last proposal category.

OMISSIONS and CONFLICTS. In Sec.III.B.7.b. Equal Parenting Time Formula, we find the following proviso: “Where the equal parenting time formula is utilized, the parent receiving the equal parenting time child support amount shall be responsible for the payment of the reasonable direct expenses listed in Section II.A.a.1.

This new proviso conflicts with other provisions of Section II.B.7.b, which provide other, additional criteria to be considered beyond which of the parents receives the EPT CS amount, INCLUDING such additional criteria as AN AGREEEMENT OF THE PARENTS.}

IV.C.3(a). Spousal Maintenance Paid (Line C.3.)

Maintenance actually paid under an Agreement or court order entered before 12/31/18 may be deducted online C.3. This remains true without regard to the date of the payment. The TCJA only affected the tax deductibility (and taxation) of the payment. It did not, as some have thought, abolish alimony as an element of divorce proceedings.

And then we have a new proposal which mixes several IRS provisions and the TCJA of 12/23/17 and offers an alternative maintenance deduction of 25%.

  • “For orders entered after Decmber31, 2018, as a result of the 2017 Tax Costs And Jobs Act Tax Reform, the amount of spousal maintenance paid pursuant to a court-approved separation agreement or court order, income for child support purposes by be calculated by taking the total maintenance awarded, increasing it by the federal and state marginal tax rate of the payor, and subtracting the total from payor income while also taking the total maintenance awarded, increasing it by the marginal tax rate of the payee, and adding this amount to the payee’s income

Here, we note that there can be a substantial difference between spousal maintenance paid and total maintenance awarded. As presently worded, the paragraph implies that total maintenance awarded should be counted as child support income even if not paid.

If the parties agree, the spousal maintenance paid may be “increased by an average tax rate of 25% and the amount is entered online C.3.

Payments for arrearages of maintenance shall not be deducted (?!?). {Once again, no explanation is offered}

Neither the genesis nor the rationale of the 25% alternative deduction (which, it appears, could exceed the amount actually paid) is revealed in the new proposal.

Other Irritations

Although it’s all too easy to introduce unintentional and erroneous “corrections” using “auto-correction” and “spell-check” utilities, that’s no excuse for failure to proofread your work, particularly when it comes to statutory materials.

Example: the phrase, “The cost to the parent or parent’s household to provide for health, dental, orthodontic, or optometric insurance coverage for the minor child or children is to be added to the gross child support obligation” – fails to say “added where?” (Guidelines Section IV.D.4.a)

Probably the most confusing issue we saw was the inconsistency in how the sections are numbered, the order of the sections (inconsistent with the revised worksheet) and many incorrect references to the line numbers on the worksheet. It took us quite a while to make sense of it and we had to assume some things that we hope others won’t have to assume in the final draft.

There is still no explanation of how to alternate the tax exemptions. There is discussion about the fact that you can do this, but no listing of methods by which this can be accomplished. Since a child support worksheet is usually only filed/modified once every few years, the worksheet outcome will be in place for years. How does one alternate the deduction each year and use an alternated tax every year?

A section of concise definitions is missing, and many new terms appear in the proposed guidelines without any guidance as to their exact meaning. Neither the table of contents nor the index at the back of the proposal have been updated and often do not refer to the correct sections.

There is no mention of the Kansas Child Care Tax Credit, only the federal credit. See KS Revenue Dept memo – https://www.ksrevenue.org/taxnotices/notice17-07.pdf

Lastly, the examples are very basic. We feel that the examples should at least cover the additional provisions in the proposed guidelines of things like the Ability To Pay, or the Social Security Disability Payments, and how those items are combined with EPT.

You Can Help!

Comments on the proposed revisions are being sought from the practicing Bar, as well as the general public and parents (both residential and non-residential) by means of an on-line-only survey form in which you can indicate your degree of agreement (1 through 5) with each proposed revision, as well as submit your comments.

Take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019childsupportguidelines, adding comments as you wish; just be sure to submit the survey by 5 PM on August 10, 2019.

Get your own copy of the 111-page proposed Guidelines at http://www.kscourts.org/rules/Rules_Open_for_Public_Comment/CSG.proposed%20changes.2018.2019%20review%20(002).pdf

We hope the foregoing discussion is of some help in keeping the Guidelines (and permutations thereof) a little clearer.  Once again, thanks for you continued interest and support!!

Stay tuned – We’ve got a hunch more “refinements” are on the way!

Brad & Randy

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.
This entry was posted in Child Support Guidelines, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.