The residence of a child is a key component in the calculation of Kansas Child support, but the guidelines actually use the Federal tax law criteria for defining residence. Normally, Federal law uses as a child’s residence the place where the child lives, but it can also be the parent with the greater Annual Gross Income.
Kansas Guidelines incorporate shared residency concepts, but the Children screen makes the user to choose “Mother” or “Father” as the resident parent. Why doesn’t the program offer “both” or “shared” as choices under the “Resides with” item?
As one subscriber recently observed, as soon as you put in work-related child care costs in a “time shared equally” situation, you get a different child support amount depending on which parent you selected as “Resides With.”
In the case posed by the subscriber, the parties alternated weeks, so they had a true 50-50 sharing. Each parent also paid some child care costs. He then observed “But you get very different child support numbers depending upon whom you list under “Resides With,” concluding “…that doesn’t make sense.”
The issue arises from the fact that Kansas law (i.e. the Child Support Guidelines) includes the concept of “Shared Custody;” a concept not recognized by federal law. The difference between the Kansas shared custody concept and the Federal concept of custody is not addressed in the Kansas Child Support Guidelines, but it impacts the application of the Child Care Tax Credit which reduces the work related child care costs of the custodial parent in Section D.9 of the Kansas Child Support Worksheet.
As the IRS explains in Publication 501, pg.13:
Sometimes, a child meets the relationship, age, residency, support, and joint return tests to be a qualifying child of more than one person. Although the child is a qualifying child of each of these persons, only one person can actually treat the child as a qualifying child to take all of the following tax benefits (provided the person is eligible for each benefit).
1. The child tax credit or credit for other dependents.
2. Head of household filing status.
3. The credit for child and dependent care expenses.
4. The exclusion from income for dependent care benefits.
5. The earned income credit.
Therefore, the Bradley Kansas Child Support Calculator program, to conform to both Kansas and Federal rules, forces the user to choose between the two parents (as to residence) in applying the Child Care Expense Credit adjustment (a Federal concept) and does not allow “both” or “shared” as choices.