In re Marriage of Gronlie (Kansas 2020)
Orders modifying child support are retroactive to the first day of the month following the filing of the motion to modify. The terms of the parents’ divorce decree set support for two children at a base amount and ordered the father to pay an additional percentage of his income if he earned more than $400,000. The older child emancipated and a new income withholding order was issued for half the base support amount. The father continued to pay the additional percentage of his income. The mother filed to modify support. The trial court recalculated support and set the effective date as the month following the filing of the petition. The mother appealed, arguing that the order should have been modified as of the older child’s date of emancipation. The appellate court affirmed the order. It found that the proportionate reduction in support was inappropriate, but the new calculation fixed the error. Per statute, modified support orders are effective the month following the filing of the petition unless the parents have a court-approved agreement to the contrary. There was no agreement in this case. The appellate court noted that since the father had continued to pay the excess amount of support, he was current in his obligation and had actually paid more than he would have if the effective date of the new support was the date of the older child’s emancipation.