How is Child Support Calculated in KY?
Child support refers to a monthly payment made by a parent to help with the expenses related to raising a child. While both parents are responsible in the state of Kentucky to support their children, child support payments are made by the non-custodial parent to the parent with physical custody.
The reasoning behind this is that the law assumes that the parent with custody of the child, or the parent who resides with the child for a majority of the time, spends the necessary amount of child support directly on the child.
The child support amount ordered in a specific case depends on the income of each parent and the number of children that need support. Under KY law, there are specific guidelines for calculating the amount of child support. Kentucky’s child support calculator allows you to determine your fair share of child support.
Besides the amount estimated by the guidelines, parents must also contribute to the health and childcare costs of the child (or children) and may be required to pay for other expenses, such as those pertaining to the education of the child.
Child support payments in KY continue until the child reaches the age of 18 years, or until they are 19 years of age if the child is still in high school. In proportion to their personal incomes, the parents divide child support payments between themselves. Regardless of whether the parents agree to pay an amount that is different from the guidelines, or decide to split payments another way, they will need the approval of a court in Kentucky.
Similarly, a court can reduce or increase the child support amount if the amount determined by the guidelines is unreasonable to the parent or does not address the financial needs of the child.
Determining Gross Income
In determining child support for the noncustodial parent, the court will commence the process by assessing the combined gross monthly income of both the parties. It may not seem fair that child support is determined on the basis of the gross income of the parties, rather than their net income (“take-home” pay), but that is the rule under KY child support laws.
The court will usually evaluate recent paystubs as well as W-2s and tax returns for the previous two years to determine income. When the court is determining gross income, the amount does not only include base salary but overtime, bonuses, and at times, benefits that decrease living expenses, such as a company vehicle or work mobile phone that is permitted for personal use.
Summarily, anything that the IRS determines as income will be considered as income by the court, and without any deductions.
Imputing Income in KY
An important aspect to note is that if the court believes that a party chooses to be unemployed or underemployed voluntarily, it can impute income to the party at an amount that it deems to be appropriate.
For instance, if you are a physician with substantial earnings during the marriage, but you quit your job and start working at a fast-food outlet at minimum wage as soon as your spouse files for divorce, the court may not accept that you work at minimum wage.
A judge can assess your past earnings to understand what they believe to be your actual earning potential and use that amount to determine child support. This is applicable to both the recipient parent and the paying parent.
Other Criteria in the Child Support Formula in KY
The child support formula applicable in Kentucky uses the below-mentioned information to determine your monthly payments for joint custody child support:
- The adjusted monthly income of the non-residential parent
- The number of children below the age of 18 years or upon graduation from high school, whichever takes place last
- The amount of medical insurance premiums for the children
- Any pre-existing obligations for child support or alimony by either parent
Parenting time is only considered in the child support formula when a parent can prove that their total parenting time is significantly higher than what Kentucky family courts typically approve. In general, KY courts have avoided using a specific formula that encompasses parenting time to not put a monetary amount on visitations.
How Accurate Child Support is Helpful to your Children
There are various ways in which paying accurate child support helps your children, mainly as it makes sure that their financial requirements are addressed.
Some reasons why accurate child support numbers are helpful to you, the other parent, and your kids are as follows:
- It offers a fair method to calculate the child support amounts
- It makes sure that the amount of child support reflects the responsibilities of each parent
- It has a margin for error if your scheduled time and actual time are different
- It is within the realm of Kentucky law
A divorce does not end your financial obligations to your children. Regardless of whether a parent is paying or receiving child support, it is important to pay or receive the right amount in the best interest of the children.
Hire a Skilled Child Support Lawyer in Kentucky
An experienced family law attorney can ensure that the child support determination is accurate and truly reflects your circumstances. In order to protect your rights, as well as those of your children, you should work with a competent family law attorney.
At John H. Ruby & Associates, we understand your concerns for the welfare of your children and will stand by your side to protect your rights. To speak to a seasoned child support attorney, call today at (502) 895-2626.