Statistics show that about forty percent of children in America are born out-of-wedlock. According to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), during 2018, states across the United States collected nearly $28.6 billion on behalf of the 14.7 million children served by child support enforcement programs throughout the country. Quality child support arrangements are usually established to ensure that children living with single parents are adequately cared for. However, never being married to the other parent of your child can create some legal challenges if you want to pursue your child support rights.
If you live in Kansas or Missouri, and you are trying to establish child support, but were never married to the other parent, consulting with an experienced child support attorney is crucial for proper guidance. As an experienced family law attorney, I will help you understand your child support rights as an unmarried parent. I will offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy you need, and help you navigate key decisions. I will pursue what is best for you and your family. Rundberg Law, LLC, is proud to serve clients throughout the Kansas City metro area, in both Kansas and Missouri.
For unmarried parents who wish to exercise their child support rights, establishing paternity is the first step. This requires showing that the father is the child's biological parent. There are two ways for unmarried couples to establish paternity, including:
Voluntarily: This requires the parents to sign and date a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) in the presence of a witness. The VAP form is usually signed in the hospital or medical facility where the baby was delivered.
Involuntarily (Legal Process): Paternity may also be established through a judicial process. The mother, the child, the alleged father, or a government official may bring a paternity action to the court. In disputed cases, DNA testing may be required to confirm paternity.
Once paternity is established, either voluntarily or involuntarily, the father's name will be added to the child's birth certificate.
Determining Child Support
Pursuant to Kansas Statue 23-3002, in determining the amount to be paid for child support, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
1. The child's needs;
2. The child's age;
3. The parents' earning ability;
4. The standards of living and circumstances of the parents;
5. The relative financial means of the parents;
6. The need and capacity of the child for education;
7. The responsibility of the parents for the support of others; and
8. The value of services contributed by both parents.
In Missouri, Statute 452.340 states that the following factors are to be considered:
1. The financial needs and resources of the child;
2. The financial resources and needs of the parents;
3. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed;
4. The physical and emotional condition of the child, and the child's educational needs;
5. The child's physical and legal custody arrangements; and
6. The reasonable work-related child care expenses of each parent.
The amount of child support is determined by the Kansas or Missouri Child Support Guidelines.
Modifying Child Support
Orders in Kansas and Missouri
Child support orders in Kansas and Missouri are subject to modification. Once child support is ordered, it continues at the same rate until one of the parents requests a modification. A parent may request a modification in the amount of child support when there has been a “material change in circumstances”. This is defined as an increase or decrease of 10 percent or more. For example, if there is a change in a parent's income, health insurance cost for the child, or child care expense, it may provide the basis for child support to be modified.
In Kansas, modification can also be requested when the child turns six or twelve years old. The reason for this is because Kansas support is established according to age group so as the child enters a new age range, the support may be adjusted accordingly.
Once the judge has determined the amount of child support, Federal law requires that child support be paid through wage withholding. If the parent fails to make their payments, the Kansas Child Support Services (CSS) will help enforce child and medical support orders through legal means.
How A Family Law Attorney Can Help
Establishing child support in Kansas or Missouri, especially when you were never married to the other parent, can be difficult. If you are trying to get the other parent to pay you child support, it is important to consult an experienced family law attorney immediately for guidance and to protect your child support rights.
For over 20 years, I have been providing comprehensive legal services and strong representation in matters of family law, divorce, and child support. As your legal counsel, I will work diligently with all parties involved to help negotiate a fair child support arrangement. I will offer you the compassionate legal guidance and advocacy you need during this period.
Call Rundberg Law, LLC, today to schedule a free one-on-one consultation with a knowledgeable Kansas child support attorney. My law firm proudly serves clients throughout the Kansas City metro area in Kansas and Missouri.