Child Support in Kentucky
Before a child turns 18, and in certain circumstances beyond age 18, both parents are obligated by statute to support him or her. Neither parent can waive the child support obligation set forth in the Kentucky Child Support Guidelines.
Child support orders in Kentucky are based on the income of the parent and amount of time each parent spend with the children. Even after an agreement is reached, post-divorce a chance in circumstances can support a petition for the modification of child support orders. These include disability, reduced income, or an extraordinary circumstance.
Each county in the state of Kentucky has a local child support department that is empowered to enforce child support orders or initiate support claims against delinquent parents in connection with their court ordered child support obligations.
In Kentucky, the amount of child support is typically governed by a formula in the law. In 1990, the Legislature enacted the Child Support Guidelines, which created a rebuttable presumption that the Guideline amount is the appropriate amount of support in determining child support. The Guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model under the theory that a child should receive as child support the same proportion of parental income that the child would have received had the parents lived together as an intact, two-parent family. The guidelines table setting forth the applicable child support obligation is based on the combined adjusted parental gross income of both parents. In short, each parent pays his or her fair share.
The Family Court Judge has ability to deviate from the guidelines “where their application would be unjust or inappropriate.” Some of the reasons to not use the Guidelines include a balanced or equal custody schedule, special needs of the child, or in high income situations. In these cases, the Court is required to state the reasons why the Guidelines were not used with reference to Child Support.
Although child support issues can be purely mathematical, there are also instances where they can be complex. For example, in high income situation, the Court focuses on the needs of the child rather than the income of the parents. The Court seeks to balance what the needs are under all the facts and circumstances with the fact that it does not want child support to be a windfall to the receiving parents. In such situations, there are techniques that can be used such as education trusts to make certain that the funds are not misused.
Additionally, there are complexities when one or both parents are self employed. In self employment cases, the Court will look more closely to see the actual income rather than the income that is reported on a tax return. The court will also look at bonus income, debt relief, state benefits or even inheritances. In these cases, it is important to have a lawyer who knows the cases in order to have the proper child support set.
Goldberg Simpson will help you with any dealings with the Kentucky Division of Child Support Enforcement.
When you have questions, Goldberg Simpson has answers. Please see the FAQs below.