Author Topic: Kansas Child Custody  (Read 5318 times)


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Kansas Child Custody
« on: December 28, 2011, 01:17:41 AM »

           What types of custody orders can a judge make?
           Joint custody is preferred and implies that both parents will share in       making major decisions concerning the child's upbringing. The usual       arrangement is for the child to reside primarily with one parent       (residential custody) and to spend time with the other parent on some       weekends and overnights, extended summer visits and holidays. Joint       custody does not pertain to the physical residence of the children. Shared       physical custody, occurs when the child lives with both parents in equally       or nearly equal blocks of time. Because shared physical custody requires       parents to be extremely cooperative and is easiest when the parents live       in close proximity to each other, many judges are reluctant to order it,       but will frequently approve agreed shared physical custody.
           Sole custody means that one parent makes all the major decisions regarding       the child's upbringing and the child lives with that parent. The other       parent may have specified visitation rights. Sole custody occurs when one       parent is not involved, i.e., prison, or suffers from mental incapacity.
           Divided custody means that one child lives with one parent and another       child with the other. Each party has visitation with the child in the       custody of the other. It is used in exceptional cases.
           Non-parental custody can be granted temporarily if the court believes the       parents are unfit or that the child is in need of care and an action will       be filed pursuant to the Kansas Code for the Care of Children. Grandparent       placement is non-parental custody.
           What factors does a judge look at in awarding a parent residential       custody of a child? The trial judge has broad discretion to award custody       according to the child's best interests. The Kansas statute lists the       following factors, among others: the child's adjustment to home, school       and community; the wishes of the parents and the child; which parent will       most cooperate in helping the child maintain a relationship with the other       parent; and evidence of spousal abuse. Neither the mother nor the father       is preferred because of sex. Each case is reviewed on its own facts       according to child's best interests. If the child is a teenager, the judge       may be willing to consider the child's wishes as to residence and the       child's reasons. There is no specific age when a child gets to decide       where they live, but generally, the older the child, the more weight that       child's desires are given by the court.
           Can the parties agree as to the custody arrangement for their child?
           Yes, the parties may agree on the type of custody that fits their       circumstances and present their agreement to the judge for approval.       Kansas law provides a presumption that a written agreement between the       parties concerning custody or residency of their minor child is in the       child's best interest. In many counties, mediation, a process later       discussed hereing, is utilized by the court to facilitate custody       agreements.
           After a Court determines which parent should have the primary residence       of a child, can the court ever change that?
           Yes. The Court retains jurisdiction (keeps the power) to change the       primary residence of a child until the child attains the age of majority       (18) or graduates from high school, whichever occurs first. In some       instances, the court's authority is extended to the child's 19th birthday,       or high school graduation. Generally, if the parties remain in the same       state, a motion to change primary custody must be filed in the same court       where the divorce or paternity was determined.
           What reasons would a court need to change the child's primary residence?
           The law usually requires a material change of circumstances' before a       judge will modify a custody order. Usually the change of circumstances       will be something in the residential parent's home that has an adverse       impact on the child, such as physical abuse, use of illegal drugs, alcohol       abuse or neglect. Seldom will the mere improvement of conditions of the       nonresidential parent be sufficient, absent other facts, for a Court to       remove a child from a stable situation. Occasionally, the desires of a teenage       child can serve as a change of circumstances.
           If I do not have primary residential custody, what access will i have with       my child?
           Visitation, often called "access" is the right of the parent who       does not have residential custody to spend time with the child. The Court       may order "reasonable" visitation, leaving it to the parties to       work out the details, or the judge may order specific times for access to       the child. "reasonable" visitation entitles a parent to see the       child at reasonable times under reasonable conditions, after adequate       notice.
           What happens if the parties cannot work out an agreeable schedule or do       not follow a schedule ordered by the Court?
           If a divorce or paternity case is still pending, then the parent can ask       for a temporary order or for modification of an existing temporary order.       If the order is "final", the party must file a motion for       specific visitation or to enforce existing rights. The Court may find a       party in contempt of court for refusing to comply or can modify the       existing order.
           In situations where visitation is an issue, the court can order the       parties into mediation which is a process by which a neutral person tries       to help the parties reach an agreement outside the court. The mediator is       a communication facilitator, and has no authority to enter orders or       provide recommendations to the court. Mediation is a confidential process       in that statements made in mediation may not be used in court. Such       confidentiality is designed to promote open communication between the       parents to assist in reaching parental agreements.
           Can a judge ever prohibit access by a parent?
           A judge may restrict, or even prohibit, access if there is evidence that       visitation would be extremely harmful to the child, as in instances of       child abuse. Sometimes a Court will order that any visitation be       supervised by a third party, such as a social worker, relative or court       officer. A parent who is prohibited from seeing a child may, at a later       time, petition the Court for visitation if conditions improve. A Court       may, in extremely rare situations, condition visitation on payment of       child support.
           Are there any guidelines for visitation?
           Parental responsibilities continue to exist whether the parents live       together or not. For children to grow up emotionally healthy requires       love, understanding and sound guidance from both parents. Children need       the opportunity to love and respect both parents.
           Courts often give parents the following guidelines:
           The residential parent should have the child ready at the mutually agreed       time.
           The residential parent should encourage and make the child feel good about       going to visit the other parent.
           The nonresidential parent should pick up and return the child on time       unless there is an emergency or the parent has called ahead.
           The nonresidential parent should notify the other parent as soon as       possible if unable to keep visitation.
           The nonresidential parent should make the time spent with the child as       pleasant as possible by not questioning the child regarding the former       spouse's activities, or making promises that cannot be kept, not       discussing the faults of the other parent, or by making extravagant gifts.
           Parents should not argue with each other in front of the child.
           The nonresidential parent should not visit the child after drinking or       taking illegal drugs.
           The parent should not visit the child at unreasonable hours or take them       to unsafe places.
           Can a judge order visitation rights for anyone other than a parent?
           Kansas statutes provide that following a divorce, grandparents and       step-parents may be granted visitation rights if it is in the best       interest of the child. In addition, Kansas law allows grandparents to       petition for visitation if they have established a substantial       relationship with the child or if their child has died and their       grandchild has been adopted by a step-parent. The judge has the discretion       to make a visitation order. However, natural grandparents do not have a       right to visitation when their grandchildren are adopted by third parties,       or when the grandparents' child has had his or her parental rights       severed.
           How does the judge decide how much child support must be paid?
           In determining the amount to be paid for child support, Kansas law       requires a Court to consider all relevant factors, including the financial       resources and needs of both parents, the financial resources and needs of       the child, and the physical and emotional condition of the child.
           The Kansas Supreme Court has adopted child support guidelines which must       be used as the basis for establishing and reviewing all child support       orders. The guidelines are based upon a premise that both parties have a       shared duty to support their children based upon their contribution to the       combined family income. A proportion of each parent's income is allocated       to the child. Child support continues until the child is 18. If the child       attains 18 and is attending high-school, child support continues until       June 30 of the school year during which the child becomes 18. Child       support and educational expenses may also be extended beyond 18 years if       the parents sign a written agreement approved by the Court. If the parties       cooperate in holding the child back in school so that the child is 18, but       still attending high-school, the Court may extend the child support for an       additional school year, subject to conditions.
           Where should I pay child support?
           In most cases, a parent is required to pay child support either to the       Clerk of the District Court or the District Court Trustee because it is       easier to enforce the support order. In rare instances, the judge may       allow a parent to make direct payments to the residential parent. Unless       the judge approves direct payments in advance, a parent will not receive       credit for payments made to anyone other than the Clerk of the District       Court or Court Trustee, which can result in a request to pay support       twice.
           Can a child support order be changed if my income changes?
           Yes. A child support order may be changed for future payments, but not for       past due payments, if there has been a change of circumstances. If a       parent's income increases or decreases so that the amount owed would be 10       percent less, there is a change of circumstances. A change of       circumstances occurs when a child reaches age 7 and 16. The parent should       contact an attorney right away to see if the support order should be       lowered, because orders can only be modified for the future.
           If I feel that my child is entitled to more support than is currently       ordered, what should I do?
           The parent should either contact an attorney or the local Court Trustee,       the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services or Child Support       Enforcement Unit as soon as possible to see about the possibility of       obtaining an increase in the support obligation.
           Who is the District Court Trustee?
           Some counties have a court trustee who is appointed by the judges to       collect child support. A parent who pays support to the court trustee must       also keep the trustee informed of current addresses and place of employment.
           What should I do if I can not pay all of my child support?
           A parent who is unable to pay child support in full should pay as much       as possible and then contact the court trustee or child support       enforcement unit (CSEU) to make arrangements for the balance. The court       trustee of CSEU may accept a partial payment. If there are other problems,       the parent may want to see an attorney right away. For example, if the       reason for inability to pay is loss of a job, the parent may want to file       a motion to modify the support obligation as soon as possible.
           What happens if I do not pay my child support?
           After July 1, 1993, child support is automatically withheld from most       parent's wages. If income is not being withheld, it can be ordered when a       parent defaults. In addition to income withholding, the law authorized       garnishment of bank accounts, imposition of liens on personal property,       interception of tax refunds, and other remedies. A person can also be held       in contempt.
           Can I be sent to jail if I do not pay my child support?
           Yes. In addition to the enforcement procedures, there are possible       criminal penalties. A parent's failure, neglect or refusal to pay for the       support of a child without lawful excuse is a felony. If convicted, a       parent could be imprisoned. Failure to obey a court order to pay child       support may result in civil punishment such as a fine, or imprisonment for       contempt until the offender tells the court that the child support order       will be obeyed.
           Does the parent who receives the child support (the parent with whom       the child lives) have to spend that money on the child?
           Yes, but it may be spent indirectly. The money does not have to be spent       only on things which go directly to the child, such as clothes or toys.       Part of the money will help pay for rent or house payments, utilities,       school fees, food, and transportation.
           A parent who believes that the child support is being improperly spent       should not stop paying support, but should contact an attorney. If the       attorney decides there is sufficient evidence, a motion can be filed to       ask a judge to review and correct the situation.
           If I am denied my visitation rights, can I refuse to pay my child       support?
           No. Child support and visitation are considered by statute in Kansas to be       two entirely separate matters. A parent cannot withhold child support to       enforce visitation rights nor can a parent deny visitation to enforce       child support. If a parent is being denied visitation, the parent can file       a motion with the court, even without a lawyer, to enforce visitation. If       visitation is being wrongfully denied, the judge can correct the       situation.
           If I need a lawyer, how can I find one?
           Contact the Kansas Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.
           Call 1-800-928-3111 and ask for the name of a lawyer who handles domestic       relations cases. For those who cannot afford a private attorney, free       legal assistance to low-income people is available in all counties.
           Contact Kansas Legal Services, Inc., (KLS), 712 S. Kansas Avenue, Topeka,       Kansas 66603, (785) 233-2068 to learn of the nearest KLS field office       serving your county
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 01:20:37 AM by Guru »


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Re: Kansas Child Custody
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 05:51:20 PM »
Ok great material here so how do I make sure I get in writing a shared residency, becuase my ex already agreed with an almost equal block parenting plan, We are getting along great for the best interest of our duaghter and dcf has already approved an order. Is the shared residency to be stated in the decree? is it it a form? Whats the actual proof for me to have. it my possesion? Im confused becuz all I read the decree is "joint leagal custody."Is it the parenting plan that I submitted is that my proof?
Jorge Perez