Author Topic: Kansas Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes (August 2014)  (Read 2225 times)

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Kansas Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee
August 22, 2014
9:30 a.m.
Minutes (Approved 9-26-14)
Members present: Hon. Thomas Foster, chair; Hon. Constance Alvey; Hon. Amy Harth; Amy Beardy; Charlie Harris; Lisa Howell; Melissa Johnson; William McClain; Doni Mooberry; Brian Mull; Larry Rute; and Professor Linda Elrod;.
Staff: Mark Gleeson, Elizabeth Reimer
Minutes of August 22, 2014
Minutes of the August 2014 meeting were reviewed. Charlie Harris moved to approve the minutes and Hon. Constance Alvey seconded the motion. The motion was approved.
Generating Questions for the Economist
Professor Jodi Messer-Pelkowski joined the committee via conference call to consider questions to which the committee requested input. With input from Dr. Messer-Pelkowski, the following questions and issues were raised:
1) General analysis of economic impact on the child support guidelines.
2) Additional explanation of the dissolution burden.
3) Application of the direct expense percentage across the entire CS schedule.
4) What is included in the data set? What was removed from the data set (i.e. cell phones, car payments, school tuition)?
5) Do the tables start with net or gross income? Are income taxes factored into the schedules?
6) Consider applying the direct expense percentage across the entire Child Support schedule.
7) How are the following factored into the schedules?
a) Private school
b) Extracurricular activities
c) Cell phones
d) Vehicle expenses (insurance, payments, service and repairs)
 8) Is the clothing percentage of 2% in the EPT formula sufficient?
9) Is school lunch considered a school expense where each party pays half or is it a food expense where they do not share?
10) How should free and reduced lunch and breakfast be treated?
11) What happens if these items are treated separately? If they are removed, does an analysis need to be performed or will all the family’s expenses need to be removed?
12) Summarize the methodology for creating the child support schedules.
13) What would the implications be for eliminating the age brackets? Should the age brackets be abandoned or go to only two age brackets?
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14) What is the consequence of having more than two parents – same sex couple when there is another couple with a child support obligation.
15) Where did the 5%, 10%, and 15% numbers originate?
16) Dr. Messer-Pelkowski’s history with the committee.
17) Summarize how the log equation was created?
18) Expenditures on Children by Families 2013.
19) How was the three percentages used on the EPT formula produced? Is this fair? Should the allowance for clothing be increased or decreased?
20) How would the guidelines change if there is an assumption that each household provides a full set of clothing for the child in any circumstance?
21) How soon will the most recent study by the USDA for actual data collection be available?
22) What is impact of the “not less than zero” provision of the EPT formula? What would the impact be if this provision was eliminated?
Affordable Care Act
There was continued discussion of the impact from the Affordable Care Act. The subcommittee will continue to discuss and make recommendations at the October meeting
Johnson v Johnson
The recent Supreme Court opinion in this case resulted in sanctions for someone who does not disclose income. The case involved a man who worked for Spirit Aerosystems but later went to work for the Boeing Company with a substantial pay raise. There was a motion to modify child support and included in the motion was a sanction allowed by the guidelines. The district court awarded the sanction but the father filed a motion to reconsider. The Court of Appeals found that there was a distinction for the failure to disclose. This is a published decision. The case is still within the request for review period, so the Kansas Supreme Court could still review the case. The first step is to determine a new child support amount. The second step is to determine the difference and come up with a method of collection. In this case, the father will probably owe the difference for a period of over a year.
Equal Parenting Time (EPT)
After two meetings, the subcommittee provided a report to the full committee. The goal is to try to make the guidelines simpler. The committee wants to know how often the EPT formula is used. The Department for Children and Families can provide IV-D data. It’s also possible that hearing officers or court trustee offices may be able to provide the data. Mark will check with the Court Trustees how often the EPT formula is used. Brian Mull’s PowerPoint and scenarios were discussed.
How does the EPT Formula compare to the Parenting Time Adjustment? The Committee reviewed the examples provided by Brian Mull and Charlie Harris on how the EPT Formula compared to the Parenting Time Adjustment. This section of the guidelines has become very complicated and the subcommittee wants to consider ways to simplify it. Charlie Harris
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provided a model that simplifies the calculation of the EPT that fits on the bottom of the CS worksheet. Among the considerations for simplification was to provide a better definition on what constitutes direct expenses.
What is the impact of cell phones, cancelling land lines, using cell phones to access data, and eliminating the cable television expense? Because the Expenditures on Children by Families uses 2005 and 2006 consumer expenditure data, the committee agreed that caution should be used in removing specific items.
Not Less Than Zero
The portion of the Equal Parenting Time Formula that includes support obligations that are less than zero was discussed. Although well intended, there are some cases where considerable sums of support would have gone to one parent but did not because the “not less than zero” rule eliminated that possibility.
Direct Expense Handout
The committee reviewed documents provided by Charlie Harris and Brian Mull regarding references to Direct Expenses in the child support guidelines. What qualifies as a direct expense or an indirect expense is sometimes not clear. Some direct expenses that are not included in the schedules may be better addressed by families in which the direct expense applies. The guidelines currently include an adjustment for Special Needs or Extraordinary Expenses.
The committee agreed that there is a need to come up with a way to account for high cost special events and to better define direct expenses. It would also be helpful to know if items that might be considered direct expenses are included in the averages used to create the child support schedules. If most of these items are included in the averages, it would make the guidelines easy but in some circumstances, primary/shared/etc., it may be better to take the cost of those items out of the averages and let the families determine how these high cost items will be shared. The risk in doing this is it could result in situations where there are, effectively, no guidelines.
Another concern raised during the discussion is whether more litigation could be created by better defining shared and direct expenses. The committee has, historically, been very cautious about making changes that might create additional conflict between parents potentially resulting in formal litigation in the courts.
Response to Engin Sabuncu’s memo
The committee considered a response to Mr. Engin Sabuncu’s memo. Doni Mooberry agreed to draft a response for consideration of the Chair and the Office of Judicial Administration.
Future Agenda Items
Preliminary Economist’s Report
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 Are vehicles and cell phones for teenagers included in the economic data factored into the guidelines?
 Review dissolution burden – how was the dissolution burden calculated?
 Update on Expenditures on Children by Families
http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2013.pdf
Next Meeting
Friday, September 26, 2014
OJA Conference Room, Room 337
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th Ave
Topeka, Kansas 66612
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