We Are Your Experienced Family Lawyers Wichita, KS
PaternityA client who is unmarried and is the mother or father of a child will likely wish to pursue a paternity action. Such cases are governed by the Kansas Parentage Act and are initiated by filing a Petition with the District Court requesting that either the Petitioner (the person filing the Petition) or the Respondent (the other party) be declared to be the father of the child or children at issue. In making this determination, the Court may order that genetic testing be performed to determine whether a party is truly the father of a child. If he is conclusively determined to be the father, the Court will enter an order declaring him to be the legal parent of the child at issue. A paternity action can also be used as the vehicle to establish a child support obligation for one of the parties. Further, matters relating to child custody, child residency and visitation can be adjudicated within a paternity action. Our family lawyers Wichita, KS have the experience and knowledge to assist you in either prosecuting a paternity case on behalf of your child, or defending against an unjust result if you are responding to a paternity action.
Modification of Child CustodyOftentimes a client may desire a change of custody, or more specifically, a modification of residency or visitation. Such a modification is appropriate in cases where the child’s best interests are no longer served by the status quo custody arrangement. In some cases, the party desiring a change in custody must show a material change in circumstances which make the current custody arrangement unreasonable. In other cases, the only relevant analysis is what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. However, in all cases the best interests of the minor children guide the Court’s decision as to whether a change in custody is warranted by the unique facts of each dispute.
Modification of Child SupportIn most cases where a child’s parents are separated, one parent provides the other parent with monthly child support payments. The amount of child support is dictated by the Kansas Child Support Guidelines. When there has been a material change in circumstances, the Guidelines empower the District Court to modify child support. A material change in circumstances for child support purposes can take many forms, but are most commonly seen after a modification of child custody, increase or decrease in a party’s income, or the mere passage of time. If a material change in circumstances can be shown, the Court will set a new child support obligation consistent with the Guidelines.
Child in Need of CareThe Revised Kansas Code for the Care of Children was enacted by the Kansas Legislature as a means to protect the safety and welfare of children. Although parents are always presumed to act in their child’s best interests, the Code was designed to protect children who are not adequately cared for by absent, neglectful or abusive parents. If a parent is not properly caring for his or her child, a Petition can be filed in the District Court alleging that such child is a “child in need of care.” Although the Petition is usually filed by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS), a private case may also be filed by any interested party, usually a family member. After the Petition is filed, the Court must determine if the child is in fact a child in need of care. If the Court determines that a child is a child in need of care by clear and convincing evidence, then the Court has several options at its disposal to protect the child, including returning the child to the parents with conditions; placing the child in a relative’s home; or placing the child with a shelter facility. The Court also has the power to terminate parental rights if it is found by clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit to properly care for the child and the parent’s conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. A child in need of care proceeding has the potential to seriously and permanently impact all of the parties involved. Our family law Wichita attorneys have experience in both representing interested family members who are concerned for a child’s safety, and parents who wish to protect their parental rights.
For more information on family law, please contact the family lawyers Wichita, KS of Cleary, Wagle & West. Our family law attorneys have years of experience in successful litigation in this case type. Please contact our office today for a consultation. Our Wichita family lawyers are dedicated to the best interests of every client.