Kansas monitors child support by requiring parents to make their payments through the Kansas Payment Center. Language to this effect must be included in every new or modified child support order. Under both state and federal law, child support payments are made through income withholding orders, or IWOs. IWOs obligate a parent's employer to deduct child support from his wages or salary and forward it to the state. If a parent is unemployed or self-employed, however, IWOs may not work and a parent can fall behind with payments.
Processing Vs. Enforcing Orders
The Kansas Payment Center only keeps track of child support payments. It receives them from the paying parent or his employer and forwards them to the receiving parent. The KPC can't initiate enforcement measures on its own if a parent doesn't pay. The receiving parent must contact a private attorney, the Kansas Child Support Enforcement Program or the District Court Trustee in the judicial district that issued the order. All three of these resources can help the parent get a revised IWO that withholds not only current child support payments, but a percentage toward past due support as well.
When an obligor parent is self-employed or unemployed, or the support order doesn't include provisions for payment through an IWO because the receiving parent waived this right, Kansas will utilize other measures to collect. The state will begin suspending the obligor parent's licenses when he falls three months behind in payments. These can include his driver's license, recreational licenses and even professional licenses necessary to maintain employment.
Kansas authorizes parents receiving support to file contempt motions with the court when the parent paying support falls too far behind. The parent who owes support will be required to appear in court and explain to a judge why he hasn't been paying. If he doesn't have a good reason, the judge can order jail time.
Other Collection Methods
With the help of a District Court Trustee, Child Support Enforcement Program or an attorney, parents who are owed child support can also petition the court for an order to seize and sell the other parent's personal property to pay off the past due balance. In addition, federal law allows parents to collect past due child support by intercepting the obligor parent's income tax refund. However, the paying parent must be at least $500 behind and the support order must require him to make his payments through the KPC.
Statute of Limitations
Parents receiving child support don't have forever to collect past due payments. Kansas imposes a statute of limitations of two years after the child deserving support emancipates. Emancipation occurs when the child reaches the age of majority, graduates from high school or otherwise doesn't qualify for support anymore, such as when she marries or joins the military.
Options for the Paying Parent
Kansas parents who are behind in their child support payments can stop collection efforts by making arrangements to pay off the past due balance. If it's not possible to pay this in a lump sum, they can contact the District Court Trustee or Child Support Enforcement Program to work out a payment plan.
References & Resources
- Kansas Payment Center: If You Receive Support -- Frequently Asked Questions
- Kansas Statutes: Chapter 60, Article 16 -- Divorce and Maintenance
- The Law Office of Ronn Bisbee: Kansas State Profile
- Administration for Children and Families: Federal Tax Refund Offset Program
- Office of the Court Trustee 29th Judicial District: Court Trustee
- Fletcher, Rohrbaugh & Chahine: Enforcement Proceedings
- 18th Judicial District Court: Family Law Court Rules