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Kentucky Child Support Laws

| May 11, 2021 | Family Law |

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear recently signed House Bill 404, “An ACT relating to child support”. This bill, effective March 1, 2022, created a few big changes to child support in Kentucky such as:

  1. Increase the amount of an extraordinary medical expense from $100 to $250;
  2. Update the child support guidelines table and a self-support reserve;
  3. Establish guidelines for imputation of income;
  4. Create a new section of KRS Chapter 403 to establish adjustments to a child support obligation based upon parenting time;
  5. Decrease the time liability for child support shall attach in a paternity action from 4 years to 2 years; and
  6. Establish an action for child support when a court issues a temporary order for child custody.

Asking for Child Support in Kentucky

A person is eligible to ask for child support in Kentucky if they are either a parent, custodian, or agency that is substantially contributing to the support of the child. You ask for child support by filing a motion in the County where the child resides or where the other parent resides.

How Child Support is Determined in Kentucky – The Basics

Generally, child support is based upon the KRS 403.212 child support guidelines but may be modified under extraordinary circumstances such as a child or parents medical needs. The main piece of evidence used is the gross income of the parents. When the Court is presented with insufficient evidence to determine the gross income of a parent, the Court awards child support based upon the needs of the child or previous standard of living for the child, which ever is greater. No wage or income is exempt from attachment or assignment for the payment of current child support.

Child Support Determination when a Parent is Unemployed of Underemployed

Potential income is used to determine a child support payment if a parent is unemployed or underemployed unless the parent is incarcerated, physically or mentally incapacitated, or is caring for a very young child, age 3 or younger, which the parents owe a joint legal responsibility to. When determining whether to impute potential income, the Court considers the following:

  • Assets and residence;
  • Employment earning history and job skills;
  • Educational level, literacy, age, health, and criminal record that could impair the ability to gain or continue employment;
  • Record of seeking work;
  • Local labor market, including availability of employment for which the parent may be qualified and employable;
  • Prevailing earnings in the local labor market; and
  • Other relevant background factors including employment barriers.

The act added a self-support reserve meaning if you make less than a certain amount based on the number of children, then a low-income adjustment amount of $915.00 per month is imputed considering the subsistence needs of the obligated parent with a limited ability to pay. Prior to this, $1,256.67 was imputed based on minimum wage.

Child Support Based on Parenting Time

The Act created a new section of KRS Chapter 403 to establish adjustments to a child support obligation based upon parenting time. When parenting time is equal, the parent with the greater proportional child support obligation shall pay the parent with the lesser proportional obligation the difference in the value of each parent’s proportional obligation. When parenting time is not equal, the courts calculate child support based upon the overnight stays the child spends with each parent on an annual basis and the takes into consideration the following factors:

  1. The obligated parent’s low income and ability to maintain the basic necessities of the home for the child;
  2. The likelihood that either parent will actually exercise the time-sharing schedule or time-sharing agreement;
  3. Whether all of the children are exercising the same time-sharing schedule and;
  4. Whether the time sharing plan results in fewer overnights due to a significant geographical distance between the parties that may affect the child support obligation.

This section however does not apply if the child or children subject to the child support award receive public assistance, including KCHIP, K-TAP, food stamps, or Medicaid.

Determining Paternity

Paternity must be established for an order of child support. If the parties are married, paternity is presumed. You must begin determining paternity before the child’s 18th birthday. Liability for child support does not begin prior to the initiation of the action to determine paternity if the action is taken two years or more from the date of birth.

Temporary Order for the Custody of the Child

The Act also established an action for child support when a court issues a temporary order for child custody. This often occurs in dependency, neglect and abuse cases. The Court shall establish a child support order or modify an existing order within seven days of the issuance of the order of temporary removal.

If you have questions around Family law, support issues, to simply revisit your support order, please don’t hesitate to contact Gatlin Voelker today to discuss your needs.