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Can Things I Purchase for My Child Count Towards My Child Support in Kentucky?

If you pay child support in Kentucky, you may be wondering about the items you buy for your child on top of that support. Child support is often a significant chunk of a parent’s monthly bills, so it’s natural to wonder if your other child-related expenses may decrease it. However, you cannot unilaterally withhold or decrease child support—doing so could land you in court and in arrears.

Learn more about child support laws in Kentucky and how they may affect your monthly payment. Need more personalized assistance with your case? Call John H. Ruby & Associates at 502-895-2626 to set up a consultation now.

Child Support Calculations in Kentucky

Child support changes frequently, so it’s important to stay on top of laws that may significantly affect your finances. In 2021, a massive overhaul to the child support system passed, removing a multiplier that increased child support arbitrarily and crediting child support for overnight stays with the paying parent. However, House Bill 501 passed in the spring of 2022, rolling back many of these changes and putting more pressure on the paying parent.

In Kentucky, child support is based on income and parenting time. However, due to provisions built into House Bill 501, the actual amount of overnights you have may not change your child support significantly—rather than being based on nights, the law grants credit for different ranges of overnight stays.

As a general rule, though, the more time your child spends with you, the less child support you pay. Other factors that may increase or decrease child support include daycare expenses, medical care expenses, and extraordinary needs of the child.

One thing that you may notice is not listed above: the items you buy for your child.

What About Items You Buy the Child?

Unfortunately, the items you buy for your child do not typically reduce your child support amount. Those are considered things that you choose to buy, not ones that actually alleviate the other parent’s costs associated with raising the child.

Consider this scenario: a custodial parent needs gym shoes for their child, and they plan on buying a $50 pair, which is in line with their budget. The non-custodial parent buys a $150 pair of gym shoes and tries to subtract that amount from their child support payment. The custodial parent now has a shortage in their budget that they could not have planned for, based on the choices of the non-custodial parent.

Agreements With the Other Parent

This raises another question: what if you and the child’s other parent agree to have shared items deducted from child support? If you seek to make such an arrangement, keep in mind that nothing done outside a courtroom will likely be considered legally binding.

No matter how strong your relationship with your child’s other parent is, you have to protect yourself at all times. Even if they agree to reduce child support in exchange for needed items, they can take that back at any time if it is not in your court order. This would put you in arrears and even cause you to rack up interest.

Always Go Through the Court System

The lesson is this: if you and your co-parent want to allow necessary items to decrease child support payments, never rely on an informal agreement. At all times, you should go by your legally binding court order.

If you both want to move forward with this type of arrangement, both parents should talk to their attorneys and figure out how to adjust their child support accordingly. This is the only way to establish this sort of agreement and protect yourselves from potential legal trouble later on.

There is an easier way, of course—the child’s other parent (the recipient of the support) can simply use your child support payments to buy the necessary items. This protects everyone involved without the need for court intervention.

Discuss Your Family Law Concerns with John H. Ruby & Associates

Family law issues can be overwhelming and stressful, so don’t take them on without the help of a skilled attorney. Call the team at John H. Ruby & Associates now to set up a consultation to discuss your legal needs. Give us a call at 502-895-2626 or send us a message online to have a team member reach out to you.