Kentucky Child Support: Frequently Asked Questions

By Heather Frances J.D.

As Kentucky parents, when you and your spouse divorce, the court sets a child support amount for the noncustodial parent to pay to the custodial parent. These support payments are designed to provide financial help so that your children are not financially disadvantaged by your divorce. The state has crafted its child support rules so that they deal with nearly every situation that might arise.

How Is Support Calculated?

Kentucky courts calculate child support for your family, based on a guidelines chart that considers the number of children and combined income of both parents. The court considers your before-tax income, along with that of your spouse. Generally, you must include all sources of income, but you can take deductions for a few expenses like alimony or child support for other children. The court divides that support obligation between you and your spouse in proportion to the amount you contribute to the combined income. For example, if you make 60 percent of the combined income, your spouse will only be expected to pay 40 percent of the support obligation.

What About Special Situations?

Kentucky courts follow the state's child support guidelines in most situations, but they are not required to do so, if the guidelines would provide an unfair result. For example, the court could deviate from the guidelines, if you have a special needs child who has a lot of expensive medical or educational needs. Courts can also deviate from the guidelines if you or your spouse have special needs, your child has income of his own, or if you and your spouse agree to a different amount.

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How Do I Collect Support?

Typically, judges include income-withholding orders as part of child support decisions, requiring the paying parent's employer to withhold the support payments from the parent's paycheck. If you are required to pay child support, your employer must send this money to the state to distribute to your spouse. Income-withholding orders apply to salaries and wages, unemployment compensation, worker's compensation, social security benefits, veterans benefits and retirement benefits. Kentucky courts can also allow child support to be collected from other assets, if you fall behind in payments. Your payments can be taken from your tax refund or your bank account, and the state can place a liens against other types of property to encourage you to pay support, as ordered.

What Happens When Our Situation Changes?

It's likely that your circumstances will change as your child gets older, and your support amount may change, too. Your local child-support office can review your established support amount, along with your income information to determine whether your payment amounts should change. Typically, Kentucky support amounts are only modified if doing so would change the payment amounts by at least 15 percent, up or down. The child support office can file this paperwork for you.

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