Author Topic: equal parenting time formula calculation  (Read 3335 times)

cds

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equal parenting time formula calculation
« on: March 13, 2012, 07:59:41 PM »
Could someone help me clarify how to correctly calculate CS when using the equal parenting time formula? The shared expense formula is straight forward, easy and inclusive for both parents sharing the child 50/50. Addition of, who pays for direct expenses, seems to be a remake of the 80/20 rule (inclusion of ambiguous percentages). Let’s say when using the child support guidelines the f3. total for parent F is $600 and parent P is $400. Let us assume that both parents provide clothing for the child at each residence and each pay equally for work related child care and medical expenses. Assuming the total d3 child support is $1000 the calculated direct expense amount would be (13% of $1000) =$130
If parent P insists on paying direct expenses then its straight forward (the difference in f3 amount (Higher obligation $600- lower obligation $400)/2+$130) = $230.
I parent F however insists on paying direct expenses then which method should be used
(a). ({higher obligation} $600 - {lower obligation} $400)/2+$130= $230
(b). ({lower obligation} $400-{higher obligation} $600)/2+$130= $30
 What would the correct method a or b?


The guidelines are not clear as to how the above would be handled. Parent F would have nothing to lose by insisting to pay direct expenses and that calculation (a) be used to determine CS. Not only will the parent not have to pay $100 (difference f3 amounts/2) but they would get paid that portion plus the "cost" of direct expenses, a benefit of $330. How is this fair and to the benefit of the child?

Guru

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 09:11:19 PM »
Hi cds and thanks for joining us,
 
 I'll try to clarify the new shared custody rule.  Firstly, the usage of the percentages did come from economic data this time as opposed to the old 80/20 rule which was pulled from thin air with no substantiation.  The new method follows very closely to the old (before 2008) shared custody rule which was just (High-Low)/2.  It used to be mandated that both parents just provide their own stuff (which makes perfect sense to me).  However, there are still certain costs that one parent will always have to pay (like school, lunches, uniforms, sports signups, etc.)  The easiest thing to do would be to alternate who pays for these things on an annual basis.  But, apparently a few bad apples ruined that for everyone, so now the new method is this:

The parent with the lowest obligation, listed on line F3, is the one nominated to pay for direct expenses and the one who will receive child support.  It is not explicitly spelled out in the guidelines, but this is the intent.

The situation you mention about who pays direct expenses.  Well, I can tell you it was heavily argued against the committee that either parent should be able to provide for direct expenses, in fact it was suggested that it should simply be alternated to be fair, but the committee disagreed and instead chose to do what was easy and make the higher income earner pay regardless.  Unfortunately, this means that parent will not be a part of many purchasing decisions unless they purchase everything twice.

There are definitely two separate terms in the full equation.  The first term (H-L)/2 is only to balance the incomes.  So whoever makes more is going to pay.  The second term is for direct expenses.  Technically, this can be provided by either parent, but the language in the guidelines point to forcing the lower income earner to buy everything.

To directly answer your question, I believe a judge would order option A most of the time.  However, if the parents agree that the higher income earner, Parent F in your case, will provide DE, then option B would be appropriate.

I hope I've clarified, but please let me know if you need more help.  Have you used the calculator available on this site to calculate the child support using the new method?  If you feel the guidelines are unclear with regard to this, I highly suggest you write to Mark Gleeson with the KS child support committee.  The committee needs to know that more time needs to be spent making this method easier for everyone.

JennyFurWhite

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2013, 02:44:46 PM »
I am still confused after using the worksheet.  After filling in the data for the kids and income, and the facts of clothing for each home being purchased separately, and the higher income paying direct expenses, I get two amounts at the end of the shared residency page.  One for direct costs and one for child support.  So is the payer going to pay the total of the two and be responsible to pay out of pocket for school lunches and so on? Or do I have to plug those numbers in elsewhere?  How does that work?

Guru

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2013, 07:27:34 PM »
Hi Jenny,

The "read me" sheet goes through most of this.  The sheet "shared residency" is really only for people to review and see intermediate calculations.  The 3 green tabs are really all you need to look at if you're wondering what should be paid and/or sent to the courts.  The Step 2 - CS Worksheet should automatically fill in the total amount to be paid as long as Step 1 - Question 2 is filled in correctly to say "neither/shared residency."

Shared residency has a portion for direct expenses and a portion for child support (paying for the other parent's home) all rolled into a single number.  The final number shown on the EPT worksheet is what this is.

Please let us know if you are still not sure and we'll get it figured out.

RRW

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 05:42:10 PM »
So in regards to school lunches, should they be included into 'Work related child care costs"???

KTM

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 07:25:12 PM »
I don't think so….. It is your obligation to feed the child(ren) during your parenting time. A sack lunch from home would be presumed to be included as a part of your support responsibility and a choice for someone else to provide a meal "out" at a cost to you would be a luxury. These are not "additional expenses" unless you could sneak the fees of a day care provided meal into the total cost of child care. Most daycare facilities do not provide this service and require meals from home be provided.

Parents whose children receive Free school lunches due to low income or support levels are not required to deduct this benefit from their total support received. So, why would an individual paying for the service be able reduce their support obligation by doing so?

RRW

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 09:51:11 PM »
Thanks for the quick response.  I apologize for the previous vague question.  I guess I should ask again, so I am not confused.  :)  What exactly are 'Direct Expenses' when relating the to Equal Parenting Time formula?  Currently, my daughter attends a public school in KS, and what is being factored in as DE's are her before and after school care (y-care) costs.  Insurance is paid by me, and that is obviously a separate line item in the worksheet.  Today, I was told that the cost of school lunch was 'missed' in the initial breakout, so the other parties attorney added in $45/month to the DE expenses paid by her mother to the equation.  Is this cost already accounted for and should not be added?  We split time down the middle at 50/50, both weekends and weekdays.

Also, I was also told by them that Kansas State Child Care Tax Credit does not apply, on the federal, so they removed that amount, thought somewhat minimal, from my calculations.  On the worksheet/calculator provided through this website, it is accounted for, so I wanted to ask.

We have been doing a shared residency agreement (I pay 65%, mother pays 35% of DE's) based off of wages.  She claims that our communication has broken down (though no monetary mishaps/delinquencies have occurred) to the point that we need to move away from that agreement.  I will refrain from pointing out my beliefs for reasoning on this, as I am on board as long as costs are covered and 'fair' for my daughter.

Thanks again in advance for your time. 

BMull

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 10:51:49 PM »
Hello RRW,

These are interesting questions you ask.  Direct expenses is a loaded question if you ask many attorneys and judges, although I don't believe it necessarily should be.  I believe the lack of clarity in the guidelines is what has caused the confusion yourself and your opposing counsel are currently encountering.

From what I gather, school fees are considered to be a direct expense for the child.  School lunches are considered a school fee.  So, whichever parent is responsible for direct expenses would be responsible for school lunches.  However, the new equal parenting time formula accounts for these expenses by tacking on an additional 13/15/18% to the basic child support amount (or crediting the respective percentage to the parent paying for DE).  So, without any further information from you or your court order, I would guess the additional $45/month is in err.

As side note, the economic data the committee has used to determine the child support tables includes every single expense afforded by married families at different income ranges in the Wichita and Kansas City areas.  Therefore, typical costs like school enrollment fees, lunches, sports, recreational activities have all been included in the figure.  I would encourage you to read through the guidelines and the USDA economic report (expenditures on children by families) by Mark Leno.  These form the basis of the guidelines and may give you the referenceable text you're looking for.

RRW

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2014, 12:18:00 AM »
BMull,

I really appreciate the response, and I will go ahead and apologize now for the grammatical errors that I made in my previous post.  Yikes!  Should have done some proofreading!  But, I probably won't proof this one either!  ha!

I do agree on the loaded question comment that you made.  I could certainly go on and on about the confusion that it causes 'average' people like myself.  It's truly a nightmare.

I am a bit confused though about your comments on the school lunch fees.  In KS, in a public school, other than the obvious taxes and enrollment fees, we don't really pay a 'school fee.'  We do pay for lunches (give or take $2.35 per day).   Again, you do the math by prorating $2.35 per day by the actual school year and I have to believe it comes out to less than $45 month.  Say it is $45, does it apply to the EPT formula?

I will let you know that the worksheet sent to me by the opposing counsel (Mom/Mom's attorney) was utilizing the Bradley calculations.  After about 3 minutes on this blog, I knew that it had it's faults, so I am thankful for that.  I never would have questioned it's integrity until I read this website.  And, I do not have a detailed response unfortunately, but I will ask for it from them and share.

Do the 'aggregate' expenses have a list, or is this another grey area that the State has left opened for debate?  I'm guessing that they don't, because this has been a thorn in my side with the State of KS.  It seems way too vague.  For example, does the $58/month I spend on gymnastics for my daughter fall into this, or am I responsible because class falls on a night of the week that she is with me?  Is Mom responsible for her percentage, or can she simply say, "no, you want her to attend and it is on your night, so you are 100% responsible for payment on gymnastics dues."

I really appreciate you pointing out the 'school fees' and the place that they hold at the DE table.  I would have never assumed that they did.

Thanks again.

KTM

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2014, 09:23:24 AM »
RRW,

I encourage you to search "Direct Expenses" on this site and read the other threads. There has been much debate, opinion and fact shared on this matter. Although Mr. Mull has shared his experience as to the intentions of the committee what is in practice and or in written documents will be different on some points.

As to school lunches. I have found that as my two children have grown and are spending longer days at school and as schools have offered more choices for purchase my children are spending more money at school on lunches and snacks. What started at Elementary school as at $2 per child per day expense is now over $5 per day for each child/teenager. If my household budget only provides for me to give my child a bagged lunch from home vs. shelling out $10 per day in school than it is not reasonable to expect me to provide cash for school lunches on days they are with the other parent. Nor is it logistically practical for me to bring a sac lunch to school for them on those days they are being dropped off at school by the other parent. Common sense prevails.

RRW

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2014, 10:29:43 AM »
KTM,

Thanks for the input, I see that side of it as well.  What I am ultimately trying to accomplish is to get the correct numbers to plug into the equation.  I have offered to pay ALL DE's (y-care, lunches, gymnastics dues, insurance) but I am being told that though the request is fine and dandy, it still isn't enough, based on our current salaries.  So, I responded by saying that we need to put numbers into the EPT formula, which they are utilizing the Bradley model and I simply want to ensure that I am not getting 'extra' fees piled on. 

One example.  Insurance comes out of my paycheck, at a rate of $60 per week.  I was told that we could go through a 3rd party and reduce that amount to $119 per week, so they used that in the formula rather than the $260 month that it is currently running.  Though I disagree, fine, put it in there.  Y-care costs average out to $433 per year, so that is going on the DE line in the formula.  Now, they want to add $45 per month to the DE line to cover the average cost of school lunches.  Also remember that they also removed the $15 per month increase that I added for State Child Care Tax Credit.

It just seems that the more and more I research, the more numbers I see are up for debate.  The 'debate' is what bothers me.  Why can the State of KS not come up with specific line items?  It does not seem to me that there are so many variables that we cannot account for all.  Why do I have to be responsible for a higher dollar figure because the receiving/lower income parent is suggested to be responsible for paying the DE's?  Why can't I set up auto-pay accounts with the school for lunches and with the YMCA for before/after school activities to avoid the 13/15/18 percent adjustment?

As mentioned, I do not have a problem covering all DE's, but when the calculator still spits out a number greater than that, because of differing salaries, I need to provide more?  I understand that there are varying circumstances and room for debate as to why I should be responsible for even more of an obligation, it baffles me.  I have kept track of days/nights of my child in my home vs. the other parent.  The child is with me 55%, and the other parent 45%.   On days where no school or y-care is offered (holidays, sick, snow day), I have handled 69% and the other parent 31% thus far for this school year.  Yet, I need to be responsible for more on the monetary aspect because I make more?

These calculations are to protect the child to ensure that a healthy and financial stable home is provided at both locations, but it also puts a further burden on the higher income parent.  Where is the incentive for the lower income parent to work harder and better their career, if they can just wait for a 10% income adjustment on the higher income parents salary?  If I want a raise, I go to my boss and show him why I deserve it.  If the lower income parent wants one, they simply go to the State and file a motion.  It's mind boggling.

In summary, it seems that the State is talking out both sides of their mouth on how to properly handle the numbers.  Either allow all gray areas to be accounted for, or take the 25 minutes to come up with a list of line items that are applicable.  Seems to me, we are left with dealing with both, causing more confusion and heartache amongst both parents to hash out, at no fault of the child.

RRW

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2014, 10:50:57 AM »
Correction to 2nd paragraph in regards to the insurance.  Should be $119 per month, not week.

KTM

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2014, 10:59:53 AM »
RRW,

The Court will consider factual information when calculating Child Support. I suggest you use factual information and not predictions of what might or might not be. You can agree or disagree before Court. So long as it is not a written agreement filed with the Çourt. At your hearing on the matter be prepared to provide the documents in triplicate that support your factual numbers. This will be entered into the Court record as fact. Opposing counsel will nickel and dime you to get a larger payment.

Every families circumstances are different and so the complicated flexibility a judge has to make sure your child(ren) are provided for.

They present a worksheet and you present a worksheet in triplicate ( must be provided at the time of hearing to opposing counsel or will not be considered = triplicate). The Court either chooses one or more commonly creates a hybrid.

1. If the Court has Ordered you to pay for the children's health insurance than the actual cost of the children's portion of the premiums would be in the calculations and not what someone else says it could be through a different provider.
2. I do not believe it is reasonable to list school lunches as an additional expense. But, they can ask for it and you can challenge it and the judge will ultimately decide.
3. The judge can add or change credits later based upon your arguments. But, you have to follow the statutes and establish a factual claim to the credit to get it. That is why opposing counsel is making you work for it. Hoping you will not out of ignorance.
4. Provide whatever proof you have as to the number of overnights you have to support your worksheet as to the amount of parenting time you have (in triplicate). calendar, emails, Court Ordered parenting time, etc.

I appreciate your frustration. My opinion for what it's worth… A salaried person is much more likely to get a raise that would equal a 10% increased difference in income over several years than a person earning minimum wage (lower income). I would expect that is why the difference in treatment due to the rarity of the reverse happening. It would not be efficient for the Court to have someone file a motion to modify because someones wages increased by a near $1872. In some cases the cost f living would keep them at just above poverty level with that raise. There just would not be a significant change in the Child Support figures although the low income parent has effectively earned 110% of minimum wage. However, a salaried person earning $60,000 per year would be given $6,000 additional income which would result in a significant statistical change and up and up, etc. The idea is to keep your child out of poverty and off any taxpayer funded state or federal benefit programs.

Think BIG PICTURE.

BMull

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 03:15:51 PM »
RRW,

I can feel your frustration in your post.  You are experiencing what many child support payors experience every time they go into court.  In my experience and in what others have told me, Judges and attorneys routinely fluff numbers in favor of their client.  It's nothing new, but like I mentioned previously, knowledge is your friend in this situation.  Even your hired attorney may not know some of the answers so it's up to you to make sure you're not getting the short end of the stick.

I agree with most of what KTM said in her post.  The other attorney can ask for these adjustments, but you'll need to be prepared to rebut all of their proposals and stick with the guidelines.  School lunches are already considered a direct expense, so adding them on top is wrong.  Using some made up insurance amount to credit you for your payment is wrong.  Use the actual cost you pay to insure your kids, no more, no less.  More than likely your ex agreed to you providing the insurance or it was ordered.  You are just doing what you're supposed to do, and you should get full credit for that payment.  If you have 55% parenting time, your ex should probably be paying you because you are the primary residential parent.  You could file a motion to request that.  I don't agree that a parent with 45% parenting time has substantially different costs than one with 50% parenting time.  We all know that's not the case, but the guidelines specifically address a parent that has 45% parenting time and give a very small adjustment for it.

I think maybe you are looking at your situation from the wrong angle.  Rather than asking everyone how child support should be calculated, you should simply read the guidelines and tell them how it is calculated.  If it's not in the guidelines, it shouldn't go into the child support figure unless an expense is unreasonably high - so high that it wouldn't have been included in the economic study or is way outside typical spending.

In conclusion, I would encourage you to read through the comments that were both sent to the committee and discussed via teleconference or in person.  All the the things you're discussing have already been brought to the committee's attention.  If you want things to change, you'll have to get involved.  You can find a pretty good number of them here: http://kschildsupportforum.com/information-users-have-sent-to-the-committee/

The final letter I drafted was this one: http://kschildsupportforum.com/information-users-have-sent-to-the-committee/aug-25-2011-letter-and-proposed-changes-to-guidelines/  There is a PDF at the bottom so its easier to read.

djmlaw

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Re: equal parenting time formula calculation
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2014, 07:41:24 PM »
To everyone on this thread.
I would like to make some general comments.  First, no more Kansas child care cost tax credit effective, I think, January 1, 2013.
Second, you're mixing apples and oranges-or more accurately negotiations and orders or lighting bugs and lighting.  The Guidelines have a structure but it is hard to find.  "Parent who share the children's time equally or nearly equally may be eligible for ... the Shared Expense Formula or the Equal Parenting Time Formula."  These 2 are different and exclusive.
If the parents can agree to share expenses (and folks, sharing don't necessarily mean equal), they (or their attorneys) write up an agreement called a "Shared Expense Formula."  That agreement defines the "direct costs" which really can be anything.  The Court has to check 6 things in the agreement as set out in III.B.7.a.(1).  If Mother wants wrestling shoes as a "direct cost" and Father doesn't, then no agreement.  The beauty of this approach is that the parents define "direct costs" and if they agree, then it's over.
Ok, this negotiation failed so the next step is another agreement called an "Equal Parenting Time Formula."  Same procedure in that the parents (or their attorneys) write up an agreement called an "Equal Parenting Time Formula."  Once again the parents define "direct costs" and this can differ from the "Shared Expense Formula" "direct costs."  The parents are still master of their ship and children.  If they agree, then it's over.
If they can't agree, then the Court gets its shot at the matter.  Usually the Court will ask if a "Shared Expense Formula" will work and everybody says no.  The Court usually respects that decision because why would it order sharing expenses when either parent can barely keep a civil tongue in court.  So it moves on to an "Equal Parenting Time Formula" because something has to be done.  The Court, based on the parents and the child(ren)'s particular situation, will define "shared costs" if any particular item is at issue.  In all fairness to the Court, It usually picks up on the issue being one more of control than interest in the child because wrestling is really boring, keeps the child away from me, and when I asked the child if he would rather be home with me than wrestling, he said he loved me and wants to be with me.  If there is a wrestling shoe issue for "direct costs," then the Court will address it one way or the other.
In this example, note that the wrestling shoe issue was raised three times: in the negotiations for the "Shared Expense Formula" and the "Equal Parenting Time Formula" and in litigation at the hearing.
Are wrestling shoes a "direct cost?"  I don't think that anyone really knows.
Of course, since we are dealing with human beings, the first question that my client has is what will the Judge do because if wrestling shoes are usually considered "direct costs," then my client doesn't want to take the opposing view.  A good check list is in Appendix X.   Unfortunately, there are no guarantees and negotiations are an art anyway.
My comment is that if there is an equal time situation, you (or your attorney) should first read the Guideline very carefully and then try to follow them.  I can share with you that several times in my practice, I first received an "Equal Parenting Time Formula" with its complicated child support calculation and the parents ended up with a "Shared Expense Formula."
djmlaw