February 2023 | No. 124,097 (Kan. Court App. 2023)
In re Obembe (Kansas 2023)
A district court has many factors it can consider when applying the extended income formula for child support.. Payments to a 529 account, when ordered as a separate provision in a divorce decree, aren’t child support. The mother and father, both high earners, divorced. The final order set spousal support, child support for three children and, as a standalone term, required both parents to contribute monthly to a 529 account for each child. When the spousal support ended, the mother filed to modify child support. Using the extended income formula, the district court increased support and declined to count the father’s 529 contributions as support. The district court denied the father’s motion to alter or amend the judgment. He appealed on several grounds. He argued that Kansas child support orders are based on the needs of a child and that the child support award created a windfall for the mother. The appellate court disagreed. It found authority in a line of cases that allows courts to look at a variety of factors when applying the extended income formula. Further, the order explained the reasoning behind the child support award, which included addressing the children’s needs. The father also appealed the district court’s decision not to count his 529 contributions as child support. These contributions aren’t included in the any recognized definitions of child support. The provisions for support and the 529 contributions were separate in the divorce decree, showing an intent for them to be viewed separately.
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