WHERE ARE THE KENTUCKY CHILD SUPPORT LAWS?
In the state of Kentucky child support is statutory. Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 403.211 and 403.212 regulate child support. You will need the table in KRS 403.212 to calculate your child support. Here is a link to KRS chapter 403: http://lrc.ky.gov/KRS/403-00/CHAPTER.HTM To determine child support you will also need a child support worksheet. The child support worksheet is form CS-71 (or CS-71.1 if one parent has 100% of the monthly income). The appropriate form can be found at: http://chfs.ky.gov/dis/cse.htm As you fill out this form you will only fill out the white boxes and leave the grey boxes blank.
FILLING OUT THE CHILD SUPPORT WORKSHEET
This guide will explain how to use form CS-71 (but CS-71.1 is very similar). On line 1 you will need to fill in both parents income. The custodial parent is the parent the children live with more often. KRS 403.212(a) defines income as “the actual gross income if employed to full capacity or the potential income in unemployed or underemployed.” For purposes of child support use gross income (before taxes). KRS 403.212(b) defines gross income to include just about every form of income (including salaries, wages, dividends, social security income, retirement, unemployment benefits, gifts, to name a few) except for means tested public assistance and food stamps.
WHAT IF SOMEONE IS UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED
If you have issues with self employment or believe a person is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed please review KRS 403.212 sections (c)(d) and (e). On line 2 enter the amount each parent pays for court ordered maintenance. On line 3 enter the amount each parent pays for child support on prior born children. You do not include child support for younger children. Next subtract the amount (if any) each parent entered on lines 2 and 3 from their gross income (line 1) and enter it as the adjusted gross income in line 4. On line 5 add both parents adjusted gross incomes (line 4) to get the combined monthly income. On line 6 you will enter each parents percentage of the combined gross income. Make sure your percentages add up to 100%. If they do not you need to recheck your math. Take out the child support table from KRS 403.212. Go down the left column until you find the combined gross income. If your combined income is over $15,000 you should contact a local attorney to assist you with your calculation as the guidelines do not cover incomes in this range. Once you have found the combined monthly income go right until you get to the column for the appropriate number of children. Enter this number on line 7. On line 8 add the monthly cost for child care. Remember that if you pay weekly you should multiply by 4.33 because there are more than 4 weeks per month (4 weeks would be 28 days and most months have 30 or 31 days). On line 9 add the monthly cost of health insurance for the children (if any). If the children are on a family plan you need to contact your insurance company and ask for the cost of you alone and you plus children (or you and spouse alone and you and spouse plus children). Subtract the amount for you (or you and spouse) from the total amount of you plus children (or you and spouse plus children). This will give you the cost for the children. For example: if insurance for you plus children is $150 and insurance for you alone would be $100 the cost for the children would be $50. Add lines 7, 8, and 9 together and enter the total child support obligation on line 10. Now multiply each parents percentage (line 6) by the total child support obligation (line 10). On line 12 enter the amount the non-custodial parent pays for insurance or child care each month. Subtract that amount (line 12) from that parents obligation (line 11) and enter it on line 13. Line 13 is the parents child support obligation under the Kentucky Guidelines.
WHAT IF THERE IS BACK DUE CHILD SUPPORT
Remember that after child support is determined the court may add additional amounts to cover any past due support that is owed (a/k/a arrearages). If there are arrearages, the amount to add is up to the judge and depends a lot on the amount of the arrearage. Generally child support becomes due the day the motion for child support is filed. That is, if you file for child support January 1 and on March 1 there is a hearing and the judge orders child support the person that owes child support will owe two months of back support as well. An exception is when a child is under the age of 4. If a child is under 4 support runs retroactively to the date of birth (or separation if the parties were together). This can create large arrearages when child support is determined for children that are 3.
WHEN CAN SUPPORT BE MODIFIED?
Simply because one of the parent’s income changes does not mean you will be able to modify your child support. KRS 403.213 regulates when child support may be modified. You need to fill out a new worksheet and if the child support amount changes by 15% or more you probably have a strong case to have it modified. If it is less than a 15% change you may be able to have it modified but you will have to show a material change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing. As a last note, there are some reasons you may need to deviate from the guidelines. If the non-custodial parent has the children more than the Kentucky model schedule provides for it may be a compelling reason to deviate from the guidelines. If you think a deviation will be necessary in your case you should contact a local attorney who practices in your county and is familiar with the tendencies of your local judges.