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In essence, the law directs that all cases start with the presumption that there be an equal split of child custody, parenting privileges and financial obligations. Then the Court can adjust from there depending on a variety of factors and information provided to the Court.
The new norm is now equal timesharing or parenting time, which has a large impact on child support obligations in Kentucky.
Traditional Child Support In KentuckyHistorically, child support tin Kentucky is controlled by KRS 403.212. Which sets the parameters for child support obligations, including, what is accounted as income and how much should be paid. However, KRS 403.212, sets child support in a parenting time arrangement where the child resides primarily with one parent and exercises limited timesharing with the other parent.
Current Kentucky child support calculations statutes do not take into account (or even mention) parenting time. The Kentucky Statutes figure child support amounts based on a strict income shares formula that includes numbers such as gross monthly income and health care premiums for the children.
Any one can calculate a child support obligation in Kentucky under the traditional method on the Kentucky government website.
Equal Parenting Time & Child SupportFor an equal timesharing arrangement, we do not have a controlling Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS). Kentucky has no approved, statewide formula to calculate child support under this arrangement. This means any deviation from the traditional calculation is up to each family court. This is permitted under KRS 403.211, specifically section (2):
“Courts may deviate from the guidelines where their application would be unjust or inappropriate. Any deviation shall be accompanied by a written finding or specific finding on the record by the court, specifying the reason for the deviation.“
Consideration of a shared or equal parenting arrangement in calculating a child support obligation is referred to as the Colorado Rule or the Colorado Method. The Kentucky Court of Appeals has upheld utilization of the Colorado Method for calculating child support in shared or equal timesharing situations.
The Colorado Method Of Calculating Child Support
The Colorado Method for child support is often used in shared or equal parenting situations. Generally, the family courts require that the parties share physical custody of the child(ren) for at least 40% of the time.
The formula utilizes the percentage of shared parenting and the child support guidelines. It is applied as follows:
- Add both parents' gross monthly income to determine the total child support from the KY Child Support Guideline (line 7). Then multiply that figure by 1.5 to determine the new total child support.
- Multiply that figure by the parents' proportionate income (for example, if dad brings in 75% of the total monthly income, multiply by 75% for dad and 25% for mom) to determine each “child support obligation.”
- Then multiply each parent's child support obligation from the above paragraph 2 by the percentage of “shared parenting” (for example, if mom has the child 9 out of 14 nights, multiply her figure by 64% and multiply dad's figure by 36%) and then SUBTRACT that number from the figures determined in paragraph 2 to determine each parent's new net child support obligation.
- Then, subtract the lower net child support figure (mom's) from the higher (dad's) to determine actual child support from one parent (dad) to the other (mom). (If neither parent pays health insurance or childcare, then this is the final child support obligation.)
- If one or both of the parent's pays for health insurance and/or childcare, then continue. Add together what is paid from either parent for health insurance and childcare monthly. That total is multiplied by the percentage each parent's income. The party with the child support obligation above subtracts what their percentage is from what they pay directly to the provider to determine if they have an over-payment for those expenses. If there is an over-payment, then it is subtracted from the child support obligation. If there is no over-payment, then it is added to the child support obligation.
While this method has been utilized by some family courts and upheld by the Kentucky Court of Appeals, child support deviations remain under the discretion of each individual family court. It is important to know how the family court presiding over your case has ruled in the past and what proof they required to deviate from the guidelines. If you have questions contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss child support in more detail.