Do I Have To Tell My Ex If I Get A Pay Raise For Child Support Purposes?
In the video above Johnson county divorce lawyer Patrick Copley talks about changing child support and whether you have to inform your ex-spouse about a change in your income. There are instances when you can and cannot file a Motion to Modify Child Support. Specifically, a new rule in the Kansas child support guidelines which provides the parties with an affirmative duty to contact the other side if there is a material change of circumstances. The most important numbers in any Child Support Worksheet are the gross domestic income of the parties, the work-related child care expenses for the child or children, and how much is being paid every month for health, dental, and vision insurance premiums for the children. If within 3 years of a Child Support Order going into effect, you want to modify the amount of child support, either increase or decrease it, there must be a material change of circumstances. That has been defined to mean that the amount being paid is either going to increase or decrease by 10%. If it is not a 10% change, it is not a material change of circumstances. Now, if there is a change in your income of 10%, up or down, you have a duty to notify the other party. If you do not do that, there could be sanctions against you upon that being realized. This change to the guidelines can impact parties who have had an order in place for years and have also received pay increases by more than 10%. This rule went into effect in January of 2016, so the argument can be made that you did not notify the other party of pay increases knowingly. The rule is this, direct from the guidelines, “A parent shall notify the other parent of any change of financial circumstances including, but not necessarily limited to, income, work-related child care costs, and health insurance premiums which, if changed, could constitute a material change of circumstances.”
This rule is not just referring to income. For example, if the work-related child care expenses decrease drastically and the other side isn’t aware of that and the party paying the work-related child care expenses does not tell them, there could be sanctions against that party. The next section of the guidelines says, “In the event of a failure to disclose a material change of circumstances, such as the understatement, overstatement, or concealment of financial information, as a result of such breach of duty, the court may determine the dollar value of the party’s failure to disclose, and assess the amount in the form of a credit on the Child Support Worksheet.” For example, if a party is made aware of the other parties pay increase that occurred a year ago, then their child support would have gone up $100. Over the course of the year, that would have been $1,200. That amount would be added to the new Child Support Worksheet. The last sentence in that section of the guidelines says, “The court may also adopt other sanctions.” In most cases, those other sanctions come in the form of attorney’s fees.
To be sure you do not have to pay the other parties attorney’s fees, always be aware when you believe there could be a material change of circumstances and let both sides know what is going on with you financially. In my experience, it is best to get into an order that the parties need to exchange financial information for as long as they have minor children. April 1st, or March 1st of every year look at the tax returns and if an adjustment needs to be made, you can do it then. Once you do this once or twice, it may not be necessary to hire lawyers every time. There is an expedited process in Johnson County, Kansas to go to a hearing officer as opposed to a district court judge. This option is not as formal and is meant to get parties in and out of their litigations sooner rather than later.
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