Guidelines used by judges to determine parents’ child support payment obligations beginning Jan. 1 have been adopted by the Kansas Supreme Court.
In mid-2013, the court solicited members for the guidelines committee and more than 200 applications were received.
“From our perspective it was a really good response,” said Lisa Taylor, communications director for judicial administration.
Those applications were narrowed to 12, and interviews were conducted by court staff to select the final four.
Taylor said questions regarding race and ethnic backgrounds were not asked of applicants, although which economic profile applicants fit into was.
“It was diverse in the sense of income,” Taylor said.
The committee included four parents who either pay or receive child support, and attorneys, judges and tax professionals with expertise in child support.
The committee spent more than a year reviewing the guidelines and making proposed updates, which were open for public review and comment before the committee made its final recommendations to the court.
The guidelines were last updated four years ago; and the new changes may increase child support obligations by up to 3.5 percent across all income groups.
The updated guidelines won’t immediately affect existing support obligations, although they may be used when a parent seeks to modify an existing child support order, or the parents’ financial circumstances are reviewed by the court.
The strike-out version of updated guidelines posted on the court’s website kscourts.org lists 14 members: three judges, five attorneys, one law professor, one dispute resolution expert and four child support recipients/payors. Professions of child support payors/recipients are not listed.
An economist with Wichita State University helped with the review by examining data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that shows trends in how parents spend money on children. The economist noted the consumer price index increased by more than 8.5 percent in the last four years.
Child support pays for housing, clothing, transportation, recreation, health care, childcare, and other expenses that would have been shared by the parents had the family remained intact.
Another change involves veteran’s disability payments and reads: VA Disability payments, Social Security Disability payments, and any employer provided or private disability insurance payments shall be considered income for child support purposes.
The Kansas Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee is expected to resume meetings in April 2016, although recruitment for the next review committee or whether additional outreach to parents has not been determined at this time.
“It is a little early to do that type of recruiting,” Taylor said. The next federally required review is expected to begin in early 2018, according to the Kansas Supreme Court website. Revisions to the Kansas Child Support Guidelines are not required until January 1, 2020.
All Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held at the Kansas Judicial Center, 301 S.W. 10th Ave., Topeka.
Currently scheduled meetings for 2016 are: April 22, May 20,  June 24, July 22.
Questions or comments are welcome and may be submitted to the advisory committee via email to [email protected]
The 103 page strike out version of the updated guidelines can be viewed at kscourts.org : http://www.kscourts.org/rules-procedures-forms/child-support-guidelines/CSG%20Strikethrough
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