Electronic Filing Expands in Kansas Courts

E FileChief Justice Lawton Nuss recently reported “In May, our district courts surpassed the 1-million mark for documents processed that were filed electronically.”

All state courts in Kansas are now able to receive electronically filed court documents (but only from Kansas attorneys).

Lawyers in good standing who are licensed in Kansas may electronically file in any state court. Self-represented parties who are not lawyers must still file paper documents in all courts.

Currently, electronic filing is required in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, as well as in 12 district courts covering 45 counties. The remaining district courts accept electronic filing but currently do not require it. More are expected to make electronic filing mandatory in coming months.

District courts that require electronic filing are:

  • 2nd:   Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee counties
  • 6th:   Bourbon, Linn and Miami counties
  • 7th:   Douglas County
  • 8th:   Dickinson, Geary, Marion and Morris counties
  • 10th:   Johnson (which will accept PDF forms for eFiling)
  • 12th:   Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic and Washington counties
  • 16th:   Clark, Comanche, Ford, Gray, Kiowa and Meade counties
  • 21st:   Clay and Riley counties
  • 23rd:   Ellis, Gove, Rooks and Trego counties
  • 25th:   Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott and Wichita counties
  • 26th:   Grant, Haskell, Morton, Seward, Stanton and Stevens counties
  • 27th:   Reno County (civil only)
  • 28th:   Ottawa and Saline counties

Kansas district courts process more than 400,000 cases a year and the switch to electronic filing means court workers are no longer required to manage paper files. This reduces paper, mailing and file storage costs for both courts and lawyers.  It also reduces opportunities for error from misfiled documents or incorrect data entry.

For information on eFiling Bradley Software documents, click HERE to view EFILE the Bradley Kansas Child Support Worksheet.

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What Happened to the ITC (Income Tax Considerations) Adjustment??

40805168 - close up u.s. individual tax form 1040 with calculator and pen.Before 2012, Section A of Appendix V to the Guidelines simply said “If the parties share or alternate the exemption, Section A [the dependent’s exemption and the Federal Child Tax Credit] should not be used. Appendix V, Section A. Dependent’s Exemption and Child Tax Credit, CSG 2008, AO 216.

Before 2012, the examples in Section A of Appendix V also provided a mathematical formula to calculate the adjustment,if there was no sharing or alternating of the exemption(s):

The value of the exemption to the noncustodial parent may be calculated by multiplying the applicable exemption amount by the noncustodial parent’s applicable highest marginal rate at both the federal and Kansas levels. The combined federal and Kansas amount should be divided by 12 to arrive at the monthly amount. A portion of this amount would then be allocated to the noncustodial parent based upon his/her share of the combined income [emphasis added].

In 2012 however, Appendix V was redrafted to read

“If the custodial parent agrees to alternate the exemption, the additional tax benefit to the noncustodial parent should be shared with the custodial parent equitably. If the noncustodial parent agrees to allow the custodial parent to claim the exemption in years that the noncustodial parent was entitled to the exemption [ed. note: the noncustodial parent is never “entitled” to the exemption unless the custodial parent consents in IRS Form 8332”], the additional tax benefit to the custodial parent should be shared with the noncustodial parentequitably. (emphasis added)

If the custodial parent elects not to alternate the income tax exemption for the minor child by executing IRS Form 8332 or a substantially similar form, the court shall consider the actual economic effect of the failure to alternate the exemption on the noncustodial parent and may adjust the noncustodial parent’s monthly child support accordingly.” Appendix, V Section A.1 – Dependent’s Exemption (emphasis added)


If the right to claim a qualifying child as a dependent is not shared between the parents, the monthly value of the tax credit should be included in the Income Tax Considerations adjustment. Appendix, V Section A.II – Federal Child Tax Credit

The mathematical formulaic approach set out in the pre-2012 Guidelines was eliminated by these new 2012 provisions, with the result that mathematically calculating a suggested ITC adjustment became impossible as a mathematical exercise.

Consider: “Multiply value A times value B” is a mathematical concept, whereas “shared equitablyor “adjusted accordingly” is not. The allocation of Income Tax Considerations adjustment thus becomes open to argument as to what is “equitable” or “fair.”

To be sure, the dollar amount of the economic tax benefit to each parent the TRV (Tax Reduction Value) is not hard to determine. The value remains (as it was before the 2012 revisions) “…the applicable exemption amount [multiplied] by the noncustodial parent’s applicable highest marginal rate at both the federal and Kansas levels.”

(The TRV of each child as a dependent for either Mom or Dad can also quickly be determined by simply consulting the Tax Results report produced by the Bradley Kansas Child Support Calculator.™)

Things can get pretty complicated, however, if the right to claim a child as a tax dependent is alternated for future years, or is not limited to a single child, or where the family custodial arrangements are “creative.”

For example, in a given case, one could argue that if custodial parent Mom is allowed to claim Sarah (who would have a tax reduction value for Dad of $50.00 per month if he were allowed to claim her), while Dad is allowed to claim John (whose tax reduction value to Mom would be only $35.00 per month because Mom is in a lower tax bracket than Dad), it would be equitable to subtract the tax reduction value surrendered by custodial Mom for John ($35.00) from the tax reduction value denied to Dad for Sarah ($50.00) and view the Income Tax Considerations adjustment as having a value of $15.00 per month (reduction in Dad’s child support). In other words, the $50.00 benefit Dad could have realized had he claimed Sarah is offset by the $35.00 benefit he denied to Mom in claiming John, so the net tax reduction value lost by Dad is $15.00 per month – thus it is “equitable” to reduce Dad’s child support obligation to Mom by $15.00 per month.

What would be equitable, however, if Mom had denied Dad’s desire to claim John as his dependent, and offered to allow Dad to claim Sarah instead? Or should Mom’s refusal to allow Dad all of his requested parenting time with Sarah be considered? What about the children’s requests regarding custody arrangements? What of a teenager’s refusal to participate in parenting time to a degree that it affects a parent’s ability to claim the child as a dependent? What if Mom gets a “Head of Household” benefit for the children with her – should we reduce Dad’s child support by some percentage of the HOH benefit even if he has remarried and files a joint return with a new spouse (thus denying himself any HOH benefit)? The permutations are endless!

For the foregoing reasons, we are unable to suggest what the TRV of an alternated child should be.

For a simple, alternative approach, please see our blog item “Ignore the Alternated Child?”

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The Income Tax Considerations (ITC) Adjustment


6037112 - preparing taxes - concept suicide

The ITC adjustment is made up of four possible elements, some or all of which may be present in a particular case:

Income Tax Deduction. A portion of a tax payer’s income taxes can be saved through the ability to claim an additional exemption on the parent’s tax return for each dependent child. The value of the tax savings is equal to the reduction in the parent’s taxable income (the exemption value changes from year to year), multiplied by the parent’s income tax bracket. For example, if the exemption value is $4,050, and the parent’s income tax bracket is 25%, the tax savings is $4,050 x .25 = $1,012.50 per year or $84.38 per month for each child. A similar savings is available in the Kansas income tax. This ability to claim a child as an exemption can be transferred between the parents (or “alternated” from year to year).

Child Tax Credit. The Child Tax Credit permits additional Federal taxes to be saved if a dependent child is under the age of 17 at the end of the tax year. This is a “dollar for dollar” credit against the tax, not merely a reduction in taxable income The amount of the tax credit is $1,000 for each such child. THE CREDIT IS NOT RELATED TO THE PARENT’S INCOME TAX BRACKET. For example, the tax savings is $1,000 or $83.33 per month for each qualifying child REGARDLESS OF THE PARENT’S INCOME OR TAX BRACKET. The Child Tax Credit is, however, subject to a “phase-out” or reduction in the $1,000 credit for certain high income tax payers (beginning at $75,000 if the taxpayer files “Single,” $110,000 if the taxpayer files “Married filing Jointly”

Head of Household. The Federal and state taxes saved through reduced tax rates for a taxpayer who can file as “head of household.” The value of the tax savings is equal to the reduction in the parent’s taxes arising from the parent’s lower income tax bracket. For example, a taxpayer filing “single” with a taxable income of $50,000 pays taxes in the 25% Federal tax bracket; but if filing as “head of household” is in the 15% Federal tax bracket.

The “filing status” also affects the “standard deduction” amount – the reduction in Federal taxable income ($6,300 for the “single” filer; $9,300 for the head of household filer – a gain of $3,000); in Kansas the taxable income reduction is $2,500. Finally, a head of household filer in Kansas receives an additional exemption, which further reduces taxable income.

Note that a taxpayer can file “head of household” without claiming a dependent child. The fling requirement is simply that the taxpayer is unmarried at the end of the tax year, and provided a home for a qualifying person (child, stepchild, foster child, mother, father, sibling or other blood relative) for more than half of the year. Thus, for a divorced couple with two children, both parents can claim HOH status if one of the children spends one day more than half the year with each parent.

Standard Deduction. If, instead of itemizing deductible expenses, a parent elects to take the “Standard Deduction,” a tax savings is generated to the extent that the standard deduction exceeds the total deductible expenses which could have been itemized.

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big-familyA subscriber recently wrote “I am preparing a worksheet for a father who has 4 kids from a previous relationship who live with him and 4 kids for whom he should pay child support. The problem is that when I put in the 4 kids for the child support worksheet, and then I put the 4 MFA kids that he has primary custody of, the worksheet is only using the Six Child Table for the Multiple Family calculation. It should count all 8 kids he is supporting, shouldn’t it? ”

The answer lies in the Multiple Family provisions and the “more than six children” provisions (Sections B.III.b and B.III.c.) of the Kansas Child Support Guidelines (and the fact that there is no “Eight Child Table.”)

What you have to do is submit the worksheet showing the six child support amount together with a brief to persuade the Court how much child support should be awarded in addition to the six child table amount!

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The Multiple Family Application Rule

Multiple FamilyThe Multiple Family Application rule (MFA) is intended to take into account the additional support obligations of a non-primary custodial parent (NCP) imposed by the presence of additional children in the NCP’s household brought about by the adoption or birth of additional children to the NCP. The MFA is normally available only as a defensive response when the primary custodial parent seeks a change (typically an increase) in child support from the NCP for the children of their relationship (the “mutual children”).

Ordinarily, of course, the application of the MFA reduces the support obligation of the NCP for the mutual children (through the application of a child support table for the total number of children which reduces the amount of support for each of the mutual children) in recognition that the NCP has increased support responsibilities.

Although some have (mis)understood the effect of the MFA as one of raising the custodial parent’s support obligation for the mutual children, that is neither the effect, nor the intent. Since the application of the MFA results in a reduced support level for the mutual children (through the application of a support table reflecting the additional children – hence, a larger family), it reduces both parent’s obligations, not just the NCP’s.

Note that the MFA is only available to a NCP. If both parents are designated as primary custodians (seemingly possible under 60-1610(a)(5)), then the MFA provisions would appear to be inapplicable:

The Multiple-Family Application may be used to adjust the child support obligation of the parent not having primary residency when that parent has legal financial responsibility for the support of other children who reside with that parent. The Multiple-Family Application may be used only by a parent not having primary residency when establishing an original order of child support or an increase in support is sought by the parent having primary residency. (Guidelines, Sec. III. B.6)

Confusion sometimes arises, however, when the MFA is to be applied in creative custodial arrangements.

Divided Custody.  How is the MFA to be applied in a divided custody arrangement where each parent has primary custody of one or more (but not all) of the mutual children?  The Guidelines direct that a child support worksheet should be prepared for each household, using the support schedule for just the number of mutual children in each household. The support obligations of the parents are then netted together (larger minus smaller) with the parent with the higher obligation paying the difference to the other parent. Application of the MFA to the worksheet for either household has the same effect as it does in a non-divided custody.

Equal Parenting Time. But how is the MFA applied where the parents have an Equal Parenting Time (EPT) arrangement and then one of the parents acquires an additional child? Where the parents have an EPT arrangement, the application of the MFA still reduces the support obligation of whichever parent is designated as the NCP (a primary custodial parent still has to be designated, even with an EPT. KSA 60-1610, (a)(5)).

Anomalous and surprising results, however, can arise from the presence of other circumstances. For example, consider the following scenario:

Assume Mom and Dad have two mutual children and Dad is the designated primary custodian. The parents have an EPT arrangement sharing time equally, and then Mom remarries and has a child. As the NCP of the mutual children, Mom could qualify for the MFA, which should reduce her child support payments to Dad. But in the EPT rules, if Dad has the higher support obligation on Line F. 3 (perhaps because he has a substantially higher income than Mom), Dad would end up sending child support to Mom. And if the Court designates Dad to pay the children’s direct expenses (which would ordinarily be Mom’s responsibility as the recipient of the child support from Dad), then Dad gets a credit based on the MFA-reduced child support total for the mutual children on Line. D.3!!

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Complex Family Structures and the MFA

Complex Family TreeA customer recently wrote:

Mom has three children, one of whom resides with her and two other children by separate fathers and each of those children lives with their father.  We need to establish what child support is payable by Mom for the two children who do not reside with her.

What child support table should we use and why?  It would seem to be “double dipping” if we are using a multiple child adjustment and also giving credit for the child support she is paying on the other child.  Can you please assist?

She was absolutely right and I quite agreed! Using an MFA of 2 and subtracting the CS paid for both of the prior children on a single worksheet would indeed be a “double dip.” The key is to use two worksheets to determine the support for Mom’s children who live with their fathers.

The MFA only applies to include the third child in Mom’s primary custody in the calculations of support for each of the other two children who live with their fathers.

Let’s call the children (in birth order) A, B & C. Each of the prior children (A & B) needs a separate worksheet on which Mother’s support obligation is determined. To calculate her CS obligation to Father A, use an MFA of 1 (for “C,” the child presently in her residential custody) and subtract the support she pays for B, the child in Father B’s primary custody. Then run a worksheet for her obligation to Father B also using an MFA of 1, and subtracting the CS she pays to Father A (determined in worksheet run 1).

You have to run a series of worksheets using the CS obligation determined in the prior run until the exact amount of her CS obligation for A & B stabilize, since those two values are mutually interdependent. Of course, running a series of calculations is easy with the Bradley Child Support Calculator; just keep track of the CS obligation determined in each run and use it as the “child support (paid) for other children” in the next run!  Pretty soon the two values (for A & B) will stabilize. Save the last two worksheets and use them to show the support payable for the other two children (A & B).

You can then run a child support worksheet for child “C” (if needed), using the sum of the support payable for A & B as “Child Support (Paid) for Other Children” on the Income Adjustments screen.

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The Not Less Than Zero Rule

Not Less Than ZeroSometimes, the results produced by the Bradley Child Support Calculator seem counter-intuitive and you may wonder if the Calculator is “broken” and needs fixing. We have fielded a lot of questions from our subscribers following the 2012 introduction of the new “Not Less Than Zero” rule in Administrative Order 261.

The AO 261 Guidelines provide that if the lower obligated parent on Line F.3  pays the direct expenses of the child, then the non-primary residential parent’s support obligation is reduced by a credit equal to a percentage of the parents’ total support obligation on Line D.3 (from  page 1). Assume that Mom has custody of two children age 6-11 and Dad’s child support obligation is $32 per month on Line F.3 after the application of adjustments on page 2 (for $231 health and dental expenses, $43 income tax considerations, etc., etc.)

If Dad pays the children’s direct expenses (clothing, education, activities, etc.), Dad gets a direct expenses credit of $371 (assumed to be Mom’s share of the direct expenses, based on 18% of a total monthly parental child support of $2,060), and Dad’s child support obligation becomes a negative $339 ($32 – $371) and Mom would pay him $371, but then you run into the “Not less than Zero” limitation. The NLTZ rule makes Dad’s obligation $0 and relieves Mom of the $339 payment to Dad to reimburse him for paying her portion of the children’s direct expenses.

Ordinarily, of course, Mom as the residential parent would receive child support from Dad, and use the child support (and her own income) to pay the children’s direct expenses. However, AO 261 provides that the trial court can designate the non-residential parent to pay the direct expenses, creating the possibility that the direct expenses share of the primary custodian is greater than the support payable by the non-primary custodian.  At the “eleventh hour,” the Advisory Committee was persuaded that residential parents (typically the Mom who has a lower income and residential custody) were not always to be trusted to pay the children’s direct expenses (preferring, perhaps, to buy alcohol, drugs or cigarettes), and therefore, it should be possible to shift the responsibility (in the judge’s discretion) to the other non-residential parent (the NRP) to ensure that clothing was provided, etc.

That concern led to a situation where the residential parent (the RP) might have to pay the NRP some amount to reimburse the NRP for the RP’s income-percentage share of the direct expenses, whereupon the “but not less than zero” limitation was proposed to protect an RP from ever having to reimburse a NRP for a share of the direct expenses. Finally, three days before the “official effective date” of AO 261 (April 1, 2012) the revisions were sent forward to the Supreme Court as the best compromise attainable.

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