Court Reverses 50-year old Child Support Precedent

The Kansas Supreme Court this morning decided a case that drastically changes the way in which Kansas law is applied in a divorce proceeding.
“More than 50 years ago, in Edwards v. Edwards, 182 Kan. 737, Syl. ¶ 2, 324 P.2d 150 (1958), this court stated that a child support order entered during the pendency of a divorce action is interlocutory and may be modified at any time and in any manner, even to the extent of discharging accrued and unpaid installments. This appeal raises the issue of whether that holding remains valid in light of statutory changes that have occurred over that 50-year period. After reviewing the statutory changes, we hold that the Kansas Legislature has limited a district court’s authority to discharge past-due child support in a final decree of divorce; specifically, a court’s authority is limited by the provision in K.S.A. 60-1610(a)(1) that limits the retroactivity of a modification to a date at least 1 month after the date that a motion to modify was filed.”
This new decision provides that the provision in KSA 60-1610(a)(1) [now KSA 23-3005] limiting modification of child support to begin not earlier than 30 days after a motion to modify is filed is applicable to PRE-decree orders for child support as well as POST-decree orders.
The Supreme Court determined that the trial court — and the Court of Appeals — erred in discharging temporary child support amounts at the final divorce hearing, remanding the case to the district court for further explanation of the district court’s intent and thinking behind its discharge. In doing so, the Supreme Court essentially, reverses Edwards v. Edwards (1958).
The case is In re Marriage of Brown, and is linked here: