Kansas House Passes Amendments to Kansas Family Law Code

The House today passed amendments to the Kansas Family Law Code as proposed by the Kansas Judicial Council (after removing Section 3 of the bill), 123-0. The bill summary and history follows: 

HB2568: Domestic Relations; Kansas Revised Family Law Code; child support guidelines. (PASSED HOUSE 123–0)

This bill is a continuation of efforts by the Kansas Judicial Council to update and unify Kansas domestic relations statutes into the Kansas Revised Family Law Code. Among the changes proposed in this bill:

1. Remove most non-uniform provisions from the Kansas Uniform Parentage Act that were inserted to provide for how child custody and parenting plans are determined in parentage actions. These provisions are unnecessary duplications already included in Article 32, which governs “Custody, Residency and Parenting Plans.”

2. Further editing of the Kansas Revised Family Law Code to move provisions more appropriately placed in other Chapters or articles.

3. Section 7 of the bill amends statutes dealing with issuance of temporary orders in divorce actions allowing the court to modify or vacate any temporary orders until entry of a final order in the case. This provision is meant to “correct” a ruling of the Kansas Supreme Court (In re Marriage of Brown) that in past sessions the Legislature had changed the statutes in a way that would not allow Kansas courts to modify or vacate temporary support orders at trial when evidence was finally presented to the court.

4. Section 8 of the bill amends the statutes to require that, “Any person who files a motion requesting a child support order or modification order shall include in such filing a completed domestic relations affidavit and proposed child support worksheet.” This amendment is made to correct a Kansas Court of Appeals decision (In re Marriage of Jones), which determined that a Kansas Supreme Court rule requiring the filing of a financial affidavit with a motion to modify support was not jurisdictional and was not authorized by statute. The result has been an allowance of “sneak attacks” and late-filing of financial information.

5. Section 9 of the bill changes the date on which any modified child support amount can become effective from 30 days after the filing of a motion to modify to the first day of the month following the motion filing.

6. Section 10 of the bill updates the factors a court is to consider when entering a parenting plan.

This bill is scheduled for hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 3:30 am in 112-N of the Capitol. Testimony was presented for the Judicial Council  (see testimony). On Thursday, February 20, 2014, the House Judiciary Committee amended the bill to remove section 3 that would have set up a two-tier way of handling requests for retroactive child support in parentage cases and other provisions, and on concerns that the amendment would alter the way in which legal custody is addressed in parentage cases, so that a separate bill may be introduced for further consideration of those issues. On February 26, the House Committee of the Whole approved the bill for final passage. On February 27, 2014, the House approved the bill (123–0), sending it to the Senate.

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