Parents who do not live together are jointly responsible for meeting their children’s basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education. In most cases, the parent who provides a home for the children receives child support from the parent with visitation rights.
A child support order is part of the judge’s final divorce decree. Although it is an enforceable court order, parents’ circumstances and children’s needs can change over time. It is often appropriate for the child support order to change as well. Courts will approve a change to child support if legal counsel could prove the change supports the children’s best interests.
A Junction City child support modification lawyer could advise a parent who wishes to change their support arrangements. Depending on the circumstances, a seasoned child support attorney might advise negotiating with the other parent or bringing a motion to modify support.
Determining Appropriate Child Support
Child support is a child’s right. Parents cannot agree to waive child support, even if a custodial parent is in a much stronger financial position than the other parent. Kansas publishes guidelines that set the minimum child support a parent owes based on each parent’s gross income, the number of children the parent must support, the amount of time the child lives with each parent, and other factors. An experienced Junction City attorney could help parents review the guidelines to determine the child support amount owed in a specific case.
If the parents can show the children’s needs are met, they have the flexibility to deviate from the child support guidelines with good reason. A parent could include a child on their health insurance, which might justify a reduction in the support they pay to the other parent. Similarly, a parent might pay less support and contribute more to childcare, educational expenses, or extracurricular activities.
Parents must disclose all their income, assets, and debts to each other when determining child support. This is a continuing obligation. A parent who experiences a significant change in their income or obligations that might impact child support must disclose the changes to the other parent. Failure to do so exposes the parent to possible sanctions.
State Law Limits When a Parent Could Seek Modification
Kansas Statute §23-3005 allows parents to modify a child support order if three years have passed since a court issued the most recent order. If less than three years have passed, the parent requesting a modification must show that a material change in circumstances justifies the change.
A parent could petition to increase or decrease a child support obligation. If the guideline amount varies from the current child support payment by more than 10 percent, the variance could merit a change in the support amount. Other factors that could increase or decrease the support amount include the:
- Birth of another child
- Child develops a talent or skill that requires support
- Substantial change in a parent’s income
- Parent or child develops a serious health condition
A well-practiced attorney in Junction City could advise a parent whether circumstances justify a motion to modify child support.
Parents could mutually agree on the need to modify their child support order. In these cases, they still must submit a revised order to the court for review and approval before the modification becomes effective. Note that modifications cannot be retroactive, so parents should consider changing their support agreements as quickly as possible once circumstances change.
Ensuring Compliance with the Best Interests Standard
Parents could be surprised to learn that a judge could reject a child support modification they agreed to. Whatever arrangements the parents make, a judge must review them to ensure they support the best interests of the children. If the arrangement passes the best interest standard, the judge will issue the modified arrangement as an enforceable court order.
A skilled child support modification lawyer in Junction City could help a parent develop a persuasive argument that the child benefits from the new agreement. Even if the child support amount decreases, if the change allows a parent to work less and spend more time with the child, a judge could find the change serves the child’s best interests.
Rely on a Junction City Attorney to Modify Your Child Support Order
The only constant in life is change, and as children grow and parents develop new lives apart, their child support arrangements might need to change too.
Call a Junction City child support modification lawyer if your support arrangement is not working for you or your children. With the advice of a local legal advocate, you could present a winning case that meets your child support goals.