Child custody is often one of the most emotional and contested areas of divorce. Although divorce ends marriages, it does not end the relationship between parents and their children. However, it does drastically impact how the divorcing parents will care for and relate with their children. If you are involved in child custody and support issues, you need compassionate representation that can help you make informed choices that ensures the well-being of your children. Burke McClasky Stevens has served clients in the Kansas City area in child custody and support matters for decades and can provide you with an effective advocate for your case.
Best Interest of the Child
As with other states, all matters regarding children in Kansas are determined according to the best interest of the child, including custody, visitation and child support. This determination is guided by a set of factors set forth in Kansas statutes. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The length of time that the child has been under the actual care and control of any person other than a parent and the circumstances relating thereto;
- The desires of the child’s parents as to custody or residency;
- The desires of the child as to the child’s custody or residency;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
- The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school and community;
- The willingness and ability of each parent to respect and appreciate the bond between the child and the other parent and to allow for a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;
- Evidence of spousal abuse;
- Whether a parent is subject to the registration requirements of the Kansas offender registration act;
- Whether a parent has been convicted of abuse of a child;
- Whether a parent is residing with an individual who is subject to registration requirements of the Kansas offender registration act; and
- Whether a parent is residing with an individual who has been convicted of abuse of a child.
Joint custody is the preferred type of custody granted by Kansas courts. When parents are made to be joint custodians, they both have equal rights and responsibilities in decision making regarding the child and neither has a superior right to impose his or her wishes on the other. Under a joint custody arrangement, the parents are expected to discuss and attempt to come to agreement on what would be in the best interest of their child regarding the particular matter at issue.
If the court finds that it would not be in the best interests of the child for the parents to have joint custody, the court may award one of the parties sole custody designating one parent as the custodial parent and the other as the non-custodial parent. If the court awards sole custody to one parent, that parent has the primary right to decide matters regarding the child, including matters not only of day to day significance, but also general matters of health, education and welfare.
The court will also make a determination as to child support to provide for housing, utilities, transportation, and other indirect expenses related to the day-to-day care and well-being of the child. The basic child support obligation is determined by using child support schedules under Kansas statutes. These schedules are dependent upon the parents’ combined gross income, the number of children in the family, and the ages of the children. The schedules take into consideration income deductions for social security, federal retirement, and taxes.
If you are facing child custody or support disputes in the Kansas City area, Burke McClasky Stevens may be able to assist you. Our law firm has provided effective representation to clients facing divorce in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, including Johnson, Clay, Platte, and Ray Counties. You may contact us for an initial consultation by calling (913) 242-7522. We will take the time to listen, analyze your case, and tailor a strategy that protects the well-being of your child and your relationship with her or him.