The Kansas Supreme Court has adopted updated child support guidelines that judges will use to determine parentsí child support payment obligations beginning Jan 1.

The new guidelines reflect changes in spending on children since the guidelines were last updated four years ago. The updates are expected to increase child support obligations by up to 3.5 percent across all income groups.

The updated guidelines will not immediately affect existing support obligations, although they may be used when a parent seeks to modify an existing child support order, or the parentsí financial circumstances are reviewed by the court.

Federal law requires states to review their child support guidelines every four years, and Kansas has reviewed and revised its guidelines nine times since they initially were established in 1989.

A 14-member advisory committee spent more than a year reviewing the guidelines and making proposed updates, which were open for public review and comment before the committee made its final recommendations to the court.

The committee includes parents who either pay or receive child support, and attorneys, judges and tax professionals with expertise in child support.

An economist with Wichita State University helped with the review by examining data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that shows trends in how parents spend money on children. The economist noted the consumer price index increased by more than 8.5 percent in the last four years.

Child support pays for housing, clothing, transportation, recreation, health care, childcare, and other expenses that would have been shared by the parents had the family remained intact.

The updated child support guidelines, economistís report, and public comment results are available on the Kansas judicial branch website at under Programs.