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Wichita Divorce Blog

Establishing paternity in Kansas

30543596_S (1).jpgQuite a bit of misinformation exists about establishing paternity in Wichita. Many seem to believe that it can only be done through genetic testing, through which results are shockingly revealed by someone exclaiming "You are the father!" In reality, paternity is a concept that is more presumed than it is proven. Many clients have come to us here at the Stange Law Firm questioning the exact processes for establishing paternity is Kansas (both in cases wanting to disprove they fathered a child and those where they wanted to verify a child was indeed their own). If you share the same question, then you may be surprised to learn that there are actually several methods the state uses. 

One does indeed involve genetic testing were it must be shown with a 97 percent degree of certainty that you are the child's father. Paternity is presumed in all other cases. These (as outlined in Section 23-2208 of the Kansas Family Law Code) are as follows: 

  • The child is born while you are married to his or her married or within 300 days of your divorce
  • You attempted to marry the child's mother prior yet the marriage was declared void or voidable within 300 days of the child's birth
  • You married the child's mother after his or her birth and acknowledged paternity in writing, consented to be listed as the father on his or her birth certificate, or were deemed legally responsible to support the child through a court order
  • You either notoriously or in writing recognizing paternity of the child

Dealing with your ex-wife's relocation

45758308_S.jpgNot having your kids around you all the time is often one of the most difficult byproducts of a divorce to deal with. Dealing with it can become even more difficult if your ex-wife suddenly comes to you and says that she intends to move away from Wichita. Several divorced fathers have come to us here at the Stange Law Firm in a similar situation wondering if there is anything they can do to stop such a relocation. While you may not be able to block your ex-wife from moving, you will be happy to know that there is legal recourse available to you. 

Section 23-3222 of the Kansas Family Law Code deals specifically with parental relocation. It states that if your ex-wife does indeed intend to move, she must inform you of that intention at least 30 days prior to that happening. If she does not, she is viewed as being in contempt of you custody order and could be held responsible for any legal fees that you are required to pay in order to secure the safe return of your children. 

Determining imputed income

48379762_S.jpgIt is assumed that most parents in Wichita have no problem supporting their kids. Yet like many of those that we here at Stange Law Firm have worked with in the past, you might find yourself dealing with an ex-spouse or former partner that cannot (or does not want to) do it. He or she might get the idea that as long as he or she is not drawing in income, the courts cannot impose a child support obligation on him or her. He or she will likely be unpleasantly surprised to find out that is not the case. 

Child support is indeed determined by evaluating the gross monthly income both you and your kids' other parent brings in. In cases where his or her income is limited, the court will investigate why. This is where the idea of "imputed income" comes in. The term "imputed income" is typically used to classify non-monetary benefits. For example, according to the Kansas Judicial Branch, if your former spouse or partner receives reimbursement from an employer that help to reduce his or her living expenses, the value of those benefits are taken into consideration when determining his or her imputed income. 

Top reasons spouses get divorced

4409755_S.jpgKansas attorneys, like those throughout the U.S., may tell you that January is the time of year when divorce filings peak. Some can pinpoint it to the day--Jan. 8--as the one that sees the most divorce inquiries from spouses, according to Harper's Bazaar, because it is the first business Monday following the Christmas and New Year holiday season. All that togetherness tends to make underlying issues rise to the top. The biggest reason? Money pressures.

A study of more than 2,000 people found more than a 37 percent of the respondents named financial worries as the most challenging aspect of their marriage, and 21 percent of them blamed their spouse for causing money problems. About 16 percent of survey respondents admitted to arguing about money in the week before filing, which is understandable when you consider that Christmas brings with it a lot of pressure, financial and otherwise.

  • Additional reasons cited by those in the survey include:
  • Lack of intimacy and not spending enough time together
  • Domestic responsibilities and disagreements over raising children
  • Stress from work and having different interests
  • Lack of trust because of past infidelity

Child custody disputes: getting over the obstacles

35143293_S.jpgIt can often be difficult to draw the line with parenting after divorce. With separation already causing a major divide in normal family life, the different ways parents regard childrearing can spark extra discord. Many Kansas families find it challenging to fit into a new groove of living, especially with children involved. Some strategies may help make a situation more manageable.

While separated parents are well past the point of agreeing under one roof, Verywell Family's list of pointers when dealing with parenting disagreements can help solve many disputes. Above all else, communication can patch up gray areas, such as different views on bedtime or even eating habits. Because every stage of childhood can be crucial, it is important for parents to continue working together to meet the needs of the child -- even after a marriage has long ended. Verywell also discourages readers from arguing in front of children about parenting styles, as this can only perpetuate family tension. 

Approaching a paternity test discussion

30658660_S.jpgBringing up the topic of a paternity test alone is enough to throw most Kansas residents into a world of stress. Although ordering a test is possible without the mother or father's knowledge, many would prefer to keep communication open -- especially when it comes to family planning. Despite the fact that communication can help ease tension, many express confusion and worry over a paternity discussion and the procedures that follow.  

Those who fear the big discussion looming ahead are not alone. DNA testing service Identigene understands this common concern, outlining some ways to approach a talk on paternity testing as smoothly as possible. The first step can often become the most difficult, as Identigene encourages readers to explain to partners why a paternity test is necessary in the first place. Going about this step in a positive manner can help the other partner understand the situation, leaving them more likely to participate in the testing. For both mothers and fathers, it can also be advantageous to discuss the future of the relationship, as well as plans for the child, depending on the outcome of the test. 

America's changing family dynamics

45061231_S.jpgAs American families continue to shift away from traditional dynamics, so, too, have the laws that surround them. With the rise of blended families comes the need to plan for children in the best way possible. Some Kansas parents, however, cannot seem to reach an agreement. Just as the traditional household has changed, the gendered laws that prioritize mothers in regard to child custody have faded to the background.

Last December, The Washington Post highlighted recent potential changes within child custody laws. According to the report, roughly 20 states considered creating a more balanced system that promoted shared custody of children. While lawmakers consider the modifications, father's rights advocates have years of lobbying behind them; countless men feel they do not receive fair treatment when it comes to child custody. Critics of the proposed bills argue that they would only present setbacks in cases that involve abusive former spouses. Those in support claim the bills would update an antiquated system that prevents children from building meaningful relationships with their fathers.

What goes into a paternity test in Kansas?

23179098_S (1).jpgNo matter the situation at hand, the topic of establishing paternity can easily become a sensitive one. Many Kansas mothers and fathers even feel that such testing is unnecessary. However, each state contains paternity laws that ultimately help protect the children involved. As with many cases, however, there can be many gray areas to establishing paternity after welcoming a little one into the world.

DNA testing resource Identigene shares some basic facts on paternity testing, and considers the repercussions if a parent refuses a test. While each situation can contain it own unique challenges, Identigene notes that courts generally follow a straightfoward process when it comes to determining the father of a child. The following people can usually take legal action in these cases: a child's mother, the man claiming to be the biological father, a pregnant woman, the mother and father of an unborn child and social service agencies addressing neglect. This is not the complete list of those who can place matters into legal hands, but Identigene stresses that paternity tests are typically an enforced order from the court.

Divorce manners: react appropriately during the entire process

36419114_S (1).jpgNo matter who you are and no matter what the specifics are in your divorce, there is a way that you can carry and conduct yourself during the legal process that will improve your chances of expediting the divorce and possibly securing "wins" on critical issues inherent to your situation. Too many people involved in a divorce get anxious and angry about it all, leading to extreme difficult in negotiating and completing the divorce.

So what are some things that you can do to improve the overall process of your divorce? And what are some missteps to avoid during it all to give you more confidence as you move forward? 

Helping children understand and cope with divorce

57187657_S.jpgDivorce can take on many different meanings when children are involved. No matter the details of a situation, it can be difficult to explain a separation to young minds. Kansas parents going through divorce are all too familiar with this struggle, and some even postpone telling children about the issue at hand. What strategies might parents use to help younger family members understand and cope with divorce? 

While it is no rare occurrence, divorce can affect children in a number of complex ways. Kids Health examines some ideal approaches to helping children cope with divorce, stressing that waiting to inform children of a separation may not always be the best idea. Instead, parents may want to discuss the situation openly; asking children for feedback can also prove beneficial. However, the extent of information parents share might depend on the child's age and level of maturity. When it comes to coping with the plethora of emotions that can follow a divorce, Kids Health encourages parents to always offer support to their children, even if it means turning to a therapist. It is also important to get a child's opinion on new living situations, as some children thrive better when living in only one home. 

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