Child support payments are continuous payments made by a noncustodial parent to their custodial counterparts for the purpose of financially assisting in the child’s upbringing. When parents get divorced, the burden of taking care of the child often falls solely on the parent that has custody of the child. This could put a strain on financial resources and lower the standard of living of the child. Child support laws are therefore important to create some kind of balance of obligation between both parents.
Child Support Process After Divorce
Custodial parents in Kansas can apply for Child Support Services (CSS). This is done by downloading and filling the form at http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/CSS/Documents/CSS%20Enrollment%20Form.pdf. After filling, the form should be mailed to KS Child Support Services, P.O. BOX 552, Lawrence, Kansas 66044. In this form, parents can indicate the services that they are interested in, such as locating the other parent, establishment of paternity, modifying an existing order, etc. Information on the other parent is also request in the application. This information may be helpful in locating the noncustodial parent so that the case can move forward. When the noncustodial parent is located, they are served court papers notifying them of the child support case being brought against them. If the custodial parent indicates in the form that the paternity of the child has not been established, CSS helps obtain a court order to establish the paternity of the child. DNA tests are used for this process. Swab samples are taken from the mouth of the child and the alleged father and tested. Results are generally gotten within 4-6 weeks from the test date. Paternity tests can be requested by either custodial parent or the noncustodial parent. For details on the testing, visit http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/CSS/Pages/Genetic-Testing.aspx.
When the child’s parentage is established, the court begins a hearing process where the income of the parents, the number of children, existence of other dependents, etc. are considered. All these factors guide the final amount that will be in the child support order.
How Do You Receive Child Support?
The Kansas Payment Center (KPC) is responsible for disbursing payments to custodial parents after they have been received from their noncustodial counterparts.
Parents have two means of receiving their child support payments. The funds may be loaded onto a debit card known as the Key2Benefits card. This card can then be used just like any other normal debit card, to purchase items and to withdraw cash. Parents who wish to apply for the Key2Benefits card can fill the application form at http://www.kspaycenter.com/forms/DebitCard_Key2Benefits_English_032219.pdf. Information on the parent’s account can be gotten by visiting http://key2benefits.com/.
Custodial parents may also get the funds paid into their savings or checking accounts as direct deposits. Once the KPC receives and processes the payments, they are transferred into the registered bank account of the parent. Further details on the direct deposit arrangement are at http://www.kspaycenter.com/rec_support-1.aspx.
Parents who may be unable to maintain an account for direct deposits and have difficulty using the Key2Benefits card can request that the KPC send their payments as paper checks. To do this, a letter should be sent to Kansas Payment Center, PO Box 750080, Topeka, KS 66675-0080 or dcf.contactKPC@ks.gov.
Amount Receivable as Child Support
Kansas has Child Support Guidelines which are used to determine how much the noncustodial parent should pay as child support. These guidelines consider the needs of the child, other dependents of the parents, income of the parents, medical insurance costs for the child, age of the child, as well as other peculiar details that may be unique to the case. With the above information, the court can come up with a reasonable sum of money to be paid as child support to the custodial parent.
Enforcement of Child Support
Child support orders may be enforced by issuing an Income Withholding Order (IWO). This is a notice sent to the employer of the noncustodial parent, instructing them to withhold a certain portion of the parent’s wages. For an IWO to be issued, the employer of the noncustodial parent must be known.
However, if the employer of the parent is unknown, or the parent is elf employed, other actions may be taken to enforce compliance. These actions include denial of passport applications, denial or suspension of recreational licenses (e.g., hunting or fishing license), suspension or restriction of driver’s licenses, interception of tax return, interception of lottery winnings, suspension of professional licenses, etc. Liens may also be placed against real estate and other property of the defaulting parent until they pay up what they owe. CSS begins to take enforcement actions once the noncustodial parent has defaulted on payments for a full month.
Child support payments that are owed must still be paid even after the youngest child has been emancipated.
More information on the child support process in Kansas can be found in the child support handbook at http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/CSS/Documents/CSS%205000.pdf.