Recent changes to child support obligation statues begin taking effect this month. Some of the most recent changes will not go into effect until March of 2022. House Bill 404 makes changes to both KRS 403.211 and KRS 403.212
KRS 403.211, subsection (9) – Allocation of Extraordinary Medical Expenses
Previously, the residential parent was required to cover unreimbursed medical costs up to $100 before those costs were subject to division between parents. Under the new law, that amount is increased to $250, before costs are subject to division.
KRS 403.212, subsection (2)(e) – Imputation of Income
HB 404 adds the provision that courts are no longer able to impute (assign) income to any incarcerated individual. Previously, court imputed income to incarcerated individuals and would order they still had an obligation for support while incarcerated.
HB 404 also clarifies that individual providing care for children age three (3) or younger could not have income imputed to them. This was already the rule of law in Kentucky but was codified by HB 404.
KRS 403.212, subsection (7) – Child Support Guidelines
The new child support guidelines update the chart utilized for calculating child support in Kentucky. The old chart has not been updated in more than fifteen (15) years.
The new changes to child support law increase the maximum combined monthly adjusted parental gross income utilized for calculating child support. Previously the chart stopped at $15,000 monthly, which is $180,000 per year. The new chart goes up to $30,000 monthly, or $360,000 per year. As inflation and incomes increase, a larger number of cases with the combined monthly adjusted parental gross income exceeding the chart left serious questions regarding what parental child support obligations should be.
To better understand the combined monthly adjusted parental gross income, read the statutory definition below:
KRS 403.212(2)(h) Combined monthly adjusted parental gross income = means the combined monthly gross incomes of both parents, less any of the following payments made by the parent:
1. The amount of pre-existing orders for current maintenance for prior spouses to the extent payment is actually made and the amount of current maintenance, if any, ordered paid in the proceeding before the court;
2. The amount of pre-existing orders of current child support for prior-born children to the extent payment is actually made under those orders; and
3. A deduction for the support to the extent payment is made, if a parent is legally responsible for and is actually providing support for other prior-born children who are not the subject of a particular proceeding. If the prior-born children reside with that parent, an “imputed child support obligation” shall be allowed in the amount which would result from application of the guidelines for the support of the prior-born children.
New Section of KRS 403 – creates adjustments to child support obligations based upon parenting time
This updated portion of HB 404 does not take effect until March of 2022, which allows some time for court to process this change to how child support will be calculated going forward.
It creates a mechanism for calculating child support that takes into account the proportion of nights each parent or custodian is exercising with the minor child(ren).
Before this new legislation each court was addressing equal (or close to equal) timesharing arrangements differently. This new legislation creates a unified approach to calculating child support which takes into account the number or nights each parent or custodian is exercising with the minor child(ren).
It is a good idea to stay in contact with an experienced family law attorney even if you don’t have an active case before the court. Domestic Relations law is always changing as it is modified by statutes and new case law. Staying in contact with an experienced domestic relations lawyer will help ensure you are in compliance with current laws and that you are able to take advantage of new changes to law as they develop.