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State ex rel Secretary, Kansas State Dep't of Social and Rehabilitation Services v. Moses

July 11, 2008

STATE OF KANSAS, EX REL. SECRETARY, KANSAS STATE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AND REHABILITATION SERVICES; SHEEMA WILLIAMSON, THE MOTHER, AND QUEEN MOSES, A MINOR CHILD BY AND THROUGH SHEEMA WILLIAMSON, NEXT FRIEND, APPELLANTS,
v.
DONALD MOSES, APPELLEE.



Appeal from Wyandotte District Court; DANIEL A. DUNCAN, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. The Kansas Child Support Guidelines defines domestic gross income as income from all sources, except public assistance.

2. The presumptive child support obligation of a non-custodial parent whose income is solely derived from public assistance would be $0 under the child support guidelines.

3. The best interests of the child criterion would not be a proper ground to deviate from the presumptive child support obligation of $0 under the child support guidelines if the non-custodial parent's income is solely derived from public assistance.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Green, J.

Affirmed.

Before McANANY, P.J., GREEN and CAPLINGER, JJ.

Sheema Williamson, and minor child Queen Moses, through the Wyandotte County Court Trustee's office, appeal the decision of the trial court terminating Donald Moses' child support obligation. Did the trial court abuse its discretion in terminating Moses' child support obligation when his only source of income was Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? We say no.

In July 2003 the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services filed a petition in the district court to establish paternity of Queen Moses in Donald Moses. Moses voluntarily entered his appearance in the case that same day. In August 2003 a default judgment for paternity was entered against Moses, adjudging him the father of Queen.

In November 2004, Sheema Williamson, Queen's mother, moved to establish child support. At a hearing held in December 2004 Moses was ordered to pay Williamson $590 per month for child support, commencing December 1, 2004.

Moses later moved to reduce child support contending that the order was in excess of the amount recommended by the Kansas Child Support Guidelines (KCSG). Because the court found that Moses was receiving only SSI, the court modified Moses' child support payment to $76 per month.

In March 2007 Moses moved to terminate child support and to abate the outstanding arrearage. Moses alleged that he was unable to engage in substantial gainful employment and was therefore deemed disabled under federal law. He asserted that his only income at all times since the original order was SSI, which is exempt from legal process under federal law. Moses argued that because the 2004 KCSG defines domestic gross income as excluding public assistance, including SSI, he has no income and no child support obligation.

In May 2007 the district court granted Moses' motion to terminate child support. In addition, the court found that it lacked authority to ...


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