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mkc1959
mkc1959, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 616
Experience:  Practicing attorney with 26 years of experience.
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Can you give me an idea of the child support situation here?

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Can you give me an idea of the child support situation here? I have 85% custody, my ex has 15%.
He has not worked since the legal date of divorce which was 4/2012. He has zero income but is an able-bodied male with an undergraduate degree from a top university and part of a master's. I am on ssdi disability for which I receive $2502 monthly and $1251 monthly in dependent benefits (based on my disability) for my child. I also have a small business for which I earn $500 monthly on average.
I live in Kansas but ex lives in Washington state. I just got the paperwork to fill out a support order with Washington state on my ex. There is an existing order for him to pay 15% of his income in child support but he either doesn't work (refuses work) or works under the table. The Washington paperwork scares me because it appears to really punish the parent with higher earnings regardless of the custody arrangement. I am not clear on why they have any say at all, as the child support jurisdiction is usually the state where the child lives (Kansas, and we have lived here for over 2 years. The ex moved to WA only 6 months ago). Also the ex is clearly not trying to get work. But I don't want to even bother with this paperwork unless I have a good chance of getting support. Can you let me know what a general guideline of what the ex will be ordered to pay?

mkc1959 :

I am an attorney. The child support order was originally established at 15% of his income. I assume this was set in Kansas. With the order already set, there should be no need for a comparison of incomes. Many states do consider both parents' incomes but that is to set the original amount of support. In your case, it is already set at 15% of his income.

mkc1959 :

The Kansas order should be entered in a Washington court if anything needs to be done in Washington. However, the laws allow for the state of Washington to enforce the Kansas order in various ways -- one of which would include registration of the Kansas order in Washington.

mkc1959 :

But child support can be withheld from his income without registration of the Kansas judgment in Washington.

Customer:

I'm sorry, I should have been more clear... I was trying to modify the order

Customer:

The order was actually done in California where we both lived, and where the divorce occured

mkc1959 :

Oh . . . has he ever lived with you and the child in Kansas?

Customer:

But after a year of his not working, I got sick of zero support, so I filed to modify the order with Kansas

Customer:

No, he has not

mkc1959 :

Does he ever come to Kansas?

Customer:

I filled out all the paperwork with Kansas and then Kansas said that California no longer had ANY standing in the case, because the ex moved to Washington

Customer:

I just got the Washington paperwork 2 days ago

Customer:

No, he did come out once for Kaden's birthday in August of 2011

Customer:

A visit which I paid for

Customer:

he was only here a few days

mkc1959 :

For a court to have personal jurisdiction over him, he must have lived with the child in the State, or he must reside in that State, or he must be physically present in the State when he is served with the legal papers.

mkc1959 :

He resides in Washington and has never lived in Kansas with the child. So, for Kansas to obtain jurisdiction he would have to come to Kansas and be served with papers while in the state.

Customer:

Okay, but I was always told that the Child Support jurisdiction is where the child lives. So you're saying that isn't true?

mkc1959 :

That is not true.

Customer:

So Washington State has jurisdiction?

mkc1959 :

In your situation, Kansas does not have jurisdiction over the father because he has not met one of the three requirements.

Customer:

Wouldn't that motivate deadbeat dads to move to states where child support laws are more lenient (like Washington??)

mkc1959 :

Yes, Washington has jurisdiction because that is where the father lives.

mkc1959 :

Definitely is a motivation.

Customer:

Okay, so onto my question... do you have any idea what the guideline would be for the support I can expect ?

Customer:

With my income being $2502 plus $500 (and $1251 in support benefits which usually - but not always - doesn't count as income) monthly and the ex not working since at least April 2012, and basically not since separation??

Customer:

I mean, he has either no income, or he makes it look like he has no income, but it has been long enough, and I think he should pay something

Customer:

If I'm not likely to get anything, then I don't want to bother filing these papers. Or worse, if they make me pay him

Customer:

It is clear to me as it should be to any court that he is actively not working. He even makes comments like "It's not worth it to me to make $10 an hour"

mkc1959 :

Well they will never make you pay the father.

Customer:

Right, but isn't there a point where they say, okay, this guy just isn't working?

Customer:

So he needs to be ordered to pay, because otherwise, he's not going to ever try to find a job

mkc1959 :

So, say the court will presume he should make at least $2000 a month so that your combined income is $5000 a month.

mkc1959 :

The standard schedules would show that you would be obligated to spend $738 on the child and that he should be ordered to pay $912.00 per month.






Customer:

Okay so Washington does impute like a full-time minimum wage income on the non-residential parent

mkc1959 :

Yes, the court's will presume an amount of income for a father who is capable of working but just doesn't.

Customer:

Okay cool. I guess I need to call the CSS in Kansas and ask her to help me fill out the paperwork for Washington

mkc1959 :

Washington will impute some amount of income. The courts should consider the type of jobs he has had in the past along with his education and ability to work.

Customer:

Yeah, but I would be happy if they just imputed full-time minimum wage

Customer:

because I think that's beyond reasonable to expect

Customer:

he did work decent jobs when we were married, like $42K etc

mkc1959 :

Just be sure the paperwork only deals with support. Don't let him slip in any custody issues. Custody issues should be decided in Kansas.

Customer:

Ok, thanks

mkc1959 :

Sure.

Customer:

I am just so sick of this, I don't see how a person gets off not supporting their kid!! And there is so little help in the meantime for someone and it's not like I'm not going to support my own kid

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