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How Child Support Is Calculated in Kentucky

When it comes to sorting out child custody, it can be a long, complicated process. From determining how custody will be split to obtaining child support, there are a variety of issues that both parents have to come to agree on.

Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent of a child or children, you may have wondered how the monthly amount for child support is calculated in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Generally, the non-custodial parent (the parent who does not primarily live with the child or children) is expected to pay monthly child support to the custodial parent.

Child Support Guidelines
The courts have the final say on the amount of child support and follow a set of statutes called the Child Support Guidelines, along with a Child Support Worksheet completed by both parents.

Within these guidelines, a table shows the monthly child support amounts based on the “combined monthly adjusted parental gross income.” This gross income amount is determined by three criteria:

  1. How much the non-custodial parent has been ordered to and is paying in spousal maintenance to prior spouses;
  2. How much the non-custodial parent has been ordered to and is paying in child support for children born prior to this relationship; and
  3. How much the non-custodial parent is providing support for children born prior to this relationship without court orders.

The minimum monthly child support payment that can be made is $60. The child support amount takes into consideration how many children the non-custodial parent has to support. When the monthly gross income exceeds the upper limits in the table, then the courts will use their discretion in determining the amount.

You can estimate your child support obligation in two ways: the Child Support Worksheet you can print and fill out, using the Child Support Guidelines table, or through an online calculator from the Kentucky Child Support Interactive website.

Unemployment or Underemployment Considerations
If a parent has full-time employment, then that parent’s gross income is used in the child support calculations. If the parent is either unemployed or underemployed, however, then the courts will determine the potential income, which is calculated by examining employment potential, occupational qualifications, probable earnings—which are based on recent work history, as well as the job opportunities in the parent’s community.

The three exceptions to the use of potential income are: the non-custodial parent’s physical incapacitation, his or her mental incapacitation, or the parent cares for a child that is three years old or younger and is jointly legal responsible for the child.

Split Custody

When there is split custody, then both parents will each have to complete a child support obligation worksheet, for each household, accounting for the children from this relationship in each separate household instead of the total number of children from the relationship. The non-custodial parent who has the larger monthly obligation will pay the difference between the amounts to the custodial parent.

Child Support Payment Review

Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services may review and adjust a parent’s support obligation. This may be due to a request for a review, from either the custodial parent or non-custodial parent, or if the custodial parent is receiving public assistance for the child or children–i.e. the state would receive the child support benefits as reimbursement. Note that if the request is for an increase or decrease of support, the request may result differently than requested.

Although Kentucky has statutes on how to calculate child support, getting to that final amount may be a difficult task. If you’re a custodial or non-custodial parent, it’s important to reach out to an experienced family law attorney who can review your case and help you get the best results for you and your family.  Contact the experienced legal team at Lanna Kilgore, Attorney at Law at (270) 846-3700.


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