Author Topic: Kansas Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes (July 2014)  (Read 2025 times)

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Kansas Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee
July 25, 2014
9:30 a.m
Minutes
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; and Carol Park.
Staff: Mark Gleeson, Elizabeth Reimer
Minutes of June 27, 2014
Minutes of the June 27, 2014 meeting: Charlie Harris moved to approve the minutes, Judge Alvey seconded, motion approved.
Case Law and Statutory Changes Impacting the Guidelines
Charlie Harris reviewed the process used by the appellate courts in determining whether an opinion is published or unpublished. He indicated that many of the opinions that apply to child support are unpublished; however, a procedure exists to request that the appellate courts publish an opinion.
Cases presented in the summary:
Henderson v Henderson
Hohmann v Hohmann
Lill v Lill
Sasko v Sasko
Taber v Taber
Thomas v Thomas
Johnson v Johnson
Charlie discussed the Johnson v Johnson case which involves the requirement to disclose a change of income. Judge Foster discussed Sasko v Sasko which is a case involving depreciation as it impacts income.
The appellate courts hear relatively few cases pertaining to the child support guidelines. This suggests that the guidelines are well established and accepted by the general public. The modification of the parenting time adjustment and the shared expense formula may result in more appeals on these issues.
Affordable Care Act
The subcommittee had two telephone conference call meetings. Coincidentally, on the day of the last meeting, the federal courts of appeal issued two conflicting opinions. The impact
of the conflicting opinions means that the tax credit may be abolished but the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would remain intact.
The language proposed by the subcommittee came from the website Healthcare.gov. This reference is cited in the report. There is also a link to Kansas information through the Kansas insurance commissioner’s website. It is recommended that references to websites be italicized because they will not show up in the blue font.
The subcommittee noted that the State has experienced an increase in CHIP and Medicaid. This may be driven in part by people applying for health insurance under the ACA. Because they were enrolling in the ACA, if their income was at a certain level, they were instructed to apply for CHIP or Medicaid.
The Kansas Child Support Guidelines contains a provision that allows the stepparent to use their access to health care in the calculation of the basic child support obligation. The goal is to have parents work together to make the best decision for their children and their families.
New Section D
One option for dealing with the increase in the health care premium is to offset the child support obligation by the amount of the increase. If a party is covered by an employer and employment ends, a penalty will be imposed if there is a lapse of coverage of more than 90 days.
Signing the IRS Form 8332 becomes even more important than it currently is. There is a citation suggesting the court has the authority to require a party to sign a form 8332. The court’s authority to have a parent sign Form 8332 is not in question. In re: Marriage of Clingan (1999). The state courts have the power to allocate the income tax exemption to parents. There was the suggestion that this language be incorporated into the Kansas child support guidelines.
To answer the following questions, Melissa Johnson will check the IRS regulations regarding the court’s authority to make an exemption.
1. Should the information contained in the subcommittee’s report be incorporated into the health care and tax sections of the guidelines or incorporated as a new appendix?
2. Did the subcommittee consider the statutory requirement referenced by Mr. Williams at the June 2014 meeting?
Should the change to the health and tax sections go to the court immediately or can it wait to be submitted with the entire guidelines in January 2016? If there is a change recommended to the Supreme Court, it would be the statement that parties examine the dependency exemption in Appendix V Section 1.A “The parties should be encouraged to maximize tax benefits and adjust child support equitably.”
Members urged caution regarding a recommendation to modify the guidelines for a one sentence fix. It was noted that three members were not able to attend today’s meeting and any proposed change needs to consider the entities that publish the guidelines. Charlie recommended
waiting a couple of months to avoid causing a problem by rushing to make a change. Judges and attorneys can be informed about the changes to the tax law by the ACA through email and articles in newsletters.
The subcommittee report was accepted. No action was taken with the understanding that there will be further review by the full committee. It was proposed to table the issue and send it back to the subcommittee. This issue will be on the August 2014 agenda with revisions which may include simplification of the instruction in the guidelines or to expand the instructions into a new appendix.
Direct Expenses – Charlie Harris Handouts
The CSG contains a formula for shared expenses that includes references to direct and indirect expenses. The handout is an effort to define “Direct Expenses.” There are no known appellate decisions that provide guidance on this.
The first two items on Charlie’s handout are School and Extracurricular expenses. These may be considered objective expenses with little discretion once the decision is made to involve the child in the activity generating the expense. The clothing expense, when children are not required to wear school uniforms, may be considered a subjective expense. Note that school uniforms are included in the school expense and not the clothing expense.
All of these expenses are, to some extent, factored into the child support schedules by the economist; however, children who are in high cost private school or high cost extracurricular activities may benefit from some form of special consideration in the guidelines. There was discussion about including these definitions in a new appendix.
It was suggested that the failure to share clothing could be considered income depletion because the non-custodial parent (NCP), through payment of full child support, provides for the child’s clothing. It was further suggested that both parents provide clothing for the child at their home and adjust the guidelines to account for that policy change. The guidelines would need to account for circumstances where the child is never or very seldom with the NCP or where the NCP has little or no contact.
The following questions were raised: Is the cost for premier sports included in the USDA Report, “Expenditures on Children by Families.” Should the sharing, if it occurs, be pro rata on income? One way to deal with this would be to identify certain items as “special expenses” instead of “special needs.” These questions will be considered in September when the economist can address the matter.
Accounting for Child Support Paid
This issue was brought before the committee at a citizen’s request. The committee chose not to consider this proposal. The proposal also included a request to consider the income from a stepparent. The committee discussed this issue. There is no statutory requirement that the
stepparent’s income be considered into the child support calculation. This has been considered by prior reviews and rejected at each review.
Future Agenda Items
August 22, 2014
 Affordable Care Act
 Equal Parenting Time
 Shared Expense Formula
 Parenting Time Adjustment
September 26, 2014
Preliminary Economist’s Report
 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/crc2012.pdf
 Direct and Indirect Expenses
Next Meeting
Friday, August 22, 2014
Room 269
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th Ave.
Topeka, Kansas 66612