Kentucky law requires noncustodial parents to pay child support to the custodial parent. The state’s child support guidelines determine how much the noncustodial parent pays.
Family courts decide how much child support a custodial parent receives
Family courts throughout Kentucky use child support guidelines as they determine how much a noncustodial parent pays for the support of their child or children.
Family lawyers working with parents who are divorcing may depend on the combined adjusted gross incomes of both parents. Because there may be pre-existing court orders for both prior spouses and prior-born children, these amounts may be deducted from the court-ordered amount presented to the parents. If a noncustodial parent is paying child support for prior-born children for which they are legally responsible, this amount may also be deducted from the current order.
If the parent’s income is higher than the child support guidelines
Parents who earn higher annual salaries may have a higher adjusted gross income than is shown on the child support guidelines.
In this case, the family court may use a factor called “reasonable needs of the child or children.” This means that previous standards of living that the child experienced may be taken into account.
Gross income and parental underemployment or unemployment
Some parents may not be employed to full capacity. If they are underemployed or unemployed, the Kentucky family courts use “potential income” to arrive at the child support amount the noncustodial parent pays.
The court derive potential income from the parent’s recent work history. This allows the judge to arrive at probable earnings and the parent’s employment potential. Other factors the judge considers may include job opportunities in the parent’s community and their occupational qualifications.
Three factors may affect whether “potential income” is used for unemployed parents: they care for a child at least three years old; they are physically or mentally incapacitated.