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Wichita Divorce Blog

Understanding child support enforcement

70448784_S (1).jpgYou may hear stories about people in Wichita going to prison for having missed child support payments. If and when such an obligation is imposed on you, your love and concern for you children likely prompts you to commit to never falling behind on any payments. Yet you cannot predict the future, and events may transpire that put your ability to pay into jeopardy. Many child support obligors have come to us here at the Stange Law Firm over the years concerned about their ability to make their payments. While financial struggles do indeed happen, you should avoid missing payments as much as you are able. 

Your hesitancy to make your financial struggles known (especially to your ex-spouse) is understandable, yet the penalties that can accompany child support arrears (and the public stigma that comes with them) can often be quite severe. According to the Kansas Department for Children and Families, you have 30 from the date that a child support payment becomes due before it is officially considered late. Once it is late, Child Support Services is there authorized to initiate enforcement action. The most common form of action is an Income Withholding Order that authorizes your employer to automatically deduct your arrears from your paycheck. Other forms of enforcement can include: 

  • Consumer Credit Bureau reporting
  • Drivers' license suspension 
  • Passport or recreational license denial
  • Intercepting your tax return

Fighting for your full 401k

91009872_S.jpgProperty division proceedings can often be the most confusing aspect of your divorce case in Wichita, particularly when it comes to the handling of complex assets such as retirement accounts. Many clients have come to us here at the Stange Law Firm PC questioning why their individual 401k account is even considered a marital asset. If you share the same question, it is important to understand that your entire 401k may not be subject to property division; rather, only those funds contributed to it during your marriage can be divided in a divorce. 

Even knowing this, however, you may be less than enthusiastic about splitting up your retirement assets with your ex-spouse (after all, they are the result of your individual effort). Per The 401k Help Center, you can potentially retain the full value of your 401k in your divorce by relinquishing your claim to another marital asset to your ex-spouse. If you are considering this option, however, you need to understand the process that goes into determining the actual current value of those funds. 

My ex won't pay child support, what can I do?

43159427_S.jpgBoth parents are obligated to invest in their child's well-being. This includes a financial investment, which often involves the non-custodial parent making child support parents to help the parent with primary custody provide for the child. But what if your ex refuses to make payments as ordered by the court? The Administration for Children & Families answers your questions so you can take the right steps to address the issue. 

What is income withholding?

Processing your emotions with clarity during divorce

71052770_S.jpgOnce you have taken the first steps to divorce your spouse, your future may seem bleak as you navigate the complexities of putting a significant relationship behind you and moving forward independently. At Stange Law Firm PC, we are committed to helping people in Kansas to work through their divorce as efficiently as possible. 

Facing the uncertainty of your future and the range of emotions that accompany such significant change is going to require you to actively acknowledge and feel everything. Ignoring strong emotions or compressing your feelings may only complicate your healing and lengthen the time it takes for you to move beyond your relationship. One way to work toward emotional stability is to understand the processes for managing your emotions in ways that are healthy and productive. 

How can you relocate with your kids?

73219300_S.jpgYou might view the finalizing of your divorce agreement as the end of your proceedings. In reality, however, changes in both yours and your ex-spouse's individual circumstances could very require you to revisit your case once again. Say that you decide to move away from Wichita (either to take another job or to simply move on with your life far away from your ex-spouse). If you have or share custody of your children, you likely will want to take them with you. Yet how are you expected to handle a relocation in light of your custody agreement

You cannot simply move away with your kids. If you do so, Section 23-3222(b) of Kansas' Family Law Code says that you can be held in contempt of court. Rather, you must provide your ex-spouse with written notice of your intention at least 30 days prior to your move. This applies to anytime you change your child's residence (even if it is within your current city). You must also provide your ex-spouse with such notice if you plan on taking your children out of state for more than 90 days. 

The importance of dads in a child's well-being

31635281_S.jpgIf you are a father facing a divorce in Kansas with one or more children, you will no doubt want to find out how you can remain connected to your children during and after your divorce. Even if you and your to-be former spouse are able to cooperate positively to reach agreements on how you will divide up your marital assets, the topic of how to share time with your kids can be a difficult one.

One thing you should remain convinced of is how important you are to the healthy development of your children. According to Focus on the Family, there is a large body of research that points to the long-term benefits of a child's well-being when the father is an active part of raising them. One sociologist from Rutgers University explains that some of this is due to the inherently different ways women and men parent.

Why is genetic information important to your child?

43852671_S.jpgSome Kansas fathers may be pondering whether legally establishing their paternity is a good idea. If you are in this position, you should know that having the state recognize your parentage gives your child access to information about your family's genetic history. If your child can learn about your genetic background, your child will be better informed to make crucial life decisions.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information website explains that genetic information reveals the kinds of diseases and health conditions that run in a person's family. If your child has access to this information, he or she can learn about possible risks of developing a certain ailment, such as type 2 diabetes or a form of cancer. Also, your offspring may understand what kinds of diseases their own children may be at risk of.

When might the Kansas courts change a child's primary residence?

63161309_S.jpgIf you are like most divorcees, your situation today looks drastically different than it did when you first got divorced one, two or ten years ago. This means that your former court agreements, such as your Kansas child custody agreement, may no longer apply to your circumstances, and you may wish to seek a modification. Before you petition to modify a custody order, however, you must first understand why the state decided custody the way it did in the first place and when it will allow for a change.

According to the Kansas Bar Association, the Kansas courts will award one of four types of custody to a parent or parents: joint, sole, divided or non-parental. Joint custody means that both parents have a say in major decisions regarding the child's upbringing. In most joint custody arrangements, the child will live primarily with one parent and spend time with the other on weekends and select weekday nights. In a few cases, the child may split time with both parents equally. The courts favor joint custody arrangements over all others.

Steps to positive co-parenting

20772705_S.jpgFor divorcing parents in Kansas, the thought of working collaboratively with their former partner can seem all but impossible. However, this is exactly what is needed in order to raise children after a divorce. A high level of consciousness is required in making this happen and that can include reminding oneself of some guidelines along the way.

Very Well Family recommends that parents find a way to both develop a schedule that maps out when kids will be with each parent but simultaneously leave the door open for changes that may be needed at times. This type of flexibility may be necessitated by a change in the child's schedule or activities, the illness of a parent or other family member or more. Regardless of the reason, accommodating life's unexpected happenings with grace can help teach children how to do this as well.

Paternity cases: what's in a name?

62159843_S.jpgWhen two unmarried parents decide to end their relationship, it is still necessary to make legal provisions for the support and custody of their children, just as it is to make similar provisions for the children of married parents who decide to divorce. It is common for attorneys to refer to the former type of proceeding as a paternity case. We at Stange Law Firm know that, as a father involved in a paternity case in Kansas, you probably have many questions regarding how the legal arrangements pertaining to the split will affect your children and your relationship with them. 

One question you may have that may cause an issue between you and your former partner pertains to your child's last name. The question that often arises is whether the child will bear your last name or that of his or her mother. 

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