In re Whildin (Kansas 2019)

No. 119,489 (Kan. Ct. App. 2019)
July 2019

A settlement agreement term that imputes minimum income to a parent for a future modification of child support may be against public policy. As part of a divorce settlement agreement, the parents stipulated that for any future child support modification, the father’s income would be $75,000 or his adjusted gross income, whichever was greater. The father filed for modification based on the mother’s increase in income. The district court found the settlement agreement term contrary to public policy and imputed an income of $52,000 to the father. The mother appealed and argued to enforce the settlement agreement. The appellate court upheld the district court decision. It found that the setting support using the terms of the agreement artificially lowered the mother’s portion of the support obligation. The father, who was the obligor, didn’t have the actual earnings to support the difference. One of the purposes of child support is to maintain a consistent standard of living for the children, regardless of residence. This agreement was contrary to that purpose. The children would have a much higher standard of living at their mother’s residence.