WHAT ARE KENTUCKY’S CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES?
Child support is a monthly payment from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent to help cover the costs of raising their shared child. The amount of child support ordered in a child support case will depend on each parent's income and the number of children requiring support.
In general, Kentucky child support payments will continue until the child turns 18 years old or until they finish high school. Whatever support amount the parents agree to, they must have a court approve the final arrangement. As such, a court can decrease or increase the amount of child support if they deem the proposed amount unfair or unable to meet the child's financial needs.
One of the primary factors guiding child support determinations in Kentucky is both parents’ gross income, which includes income from all types of sources like a parent's salary, wages, bonuses and commissions from their job, as well as any military pension or severance pay. It also includes income that comes from royalties, dividends, or a trust (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 403.212 (2020)).
Note that even an unemployed parent has calculable “income” for child support purposes. Such income may be in the form of Social Security, workers' compensation, unemployment, or disability benefits. Gifts, prizes, and spousal support or alimony received also count. A court may also assign potential income to a parent who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed unless they have good reason for working less or not at all (such as a disability). A court also will not impute income to a parent who cares for a young child.
In addition to gross income, parents will also need to note if either pays spousal support to a previous spouse, pays child support under any preexisting child support order, or makes payments in support of additional children who may not be covered by a prior support order. These items are the deductions that will result in the parents' final adjusted gross income, which will be the basis for a standard amount of child support per child.
Note that, as stated earlier, a court may decide to adjust the proposed support amount based on the following factors:
- a child's extraordinary medical or dental needs;
- a child's extraordinary educational, job training, or special needs;
- either parent's own extraordinary needs, such as medical expenses;
- the independent financial resources, if any, of the child or children;
- combined monthly adjusted parental gross income in excess of the Kentucky child support guidelines (above);
- the parents' agreement to child support different from the guideline amount, but only if the child does not receive public assistance; and
- extraordinary factors specifically identified by the court which would make application of the guidelines inappropriate.
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Modifications of Existing Orders
As with most family legal orders, they may be modified under appropriate reason. Once a child support order is in place, either parent has the right to ask for a review of the amount. Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services can decide to change the child support amount due if either parent has experienced a material change in circumstances that results in a 15% increase or decrease in the amount of support due per month.
Note that a material change in circumstances might be when a parent relocates, loses a job, remarries, or has another child. A parent may also ask to modify a support order for the purposes of adding health insurance or other medical support (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 403.213 (2020)).
Contact Bamberger & Brancato, PSC for Legal Support
If you have legal questions about your current child support order if you seek to request a modification of your order, consult an experienced child support lawyer for legal support. Kentucky’s income guidelines for calculating support are largely straightforward, though the presence of certain factors may warrant a deviation from the guidelines. An experienced attorney can better provide you guidance in negotiating child support and ensure your rights are being protected in these negotiations. Bamberger & Brancato, PSC has years of professional experience representing parents in family matters like child support, so they have the skill and knowledge to safeguard your and your child’s rights in the face of child support negotiations.
Contact Bamberger & Brancato, PSC online or at (270) 926-5050 to get started with our firm today.
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