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In Kentucky, the rules for child support are mostly set by law. The amount of child support is usually decided based on how much money each parent makes and how much time the child spends with each parent.
The parent who earns more money will often be the one who pays child support to the other parent. However, the time the child spends with each parent can also affect this. For example, if the parent who earns more also spends more time with the child, they might be awarded child support instead of being ordered to pay it.
Kentucky law has special rules to quickly set up child support during the divorce process when someone asks for it. But keep in mind, child support won't automatically be given; you have to specifically ask the court for it.
To get this process started, your lawyer will need some key pieces of financial information right away, like your recent tax returns and your latest pay stubs. If you can get this information for both parents, that's even better.
Once you ask for child support and the court decides that it fits the rules, things can move pretty fast. In some cases, you might get an initial child support order without even having a court hearing. If a hearing is needed, support payments usually come after this initial order is set up.
In Kentucky, the amount of child support is mainly determined by two things: the income of each parent and how much time the child spends with each parent.
To count the time spent with each parent, the law usually looks at who the child ends their day with. For instance, if a child spends time at one parent's home during the afternoon and goes “back home” to spend the evening with the other, the law will count the day based on where the child slept that night. These are sometimes called the number of “overnights” each parent has.
The cost of health insurance for the child is also considered in child support calculations because both parents are expected to share this cost. For example, if Mom is paying for insurance and receiving child support from Dad, then Dad might have to pay a bit more support to help cover the insurance cost. On the other hand, if Mom is the one paying for both insurance and child support, she might pay a bit less in child support to balance out the cost of the insurance she’s providing.
Kentucky has a child support table that gives a basic idea of how much child support should be paid based on the parents' combined income and the number of children. However, this table is just a starting point and the court has the freedom to adjust the amount if there are special circumstances.
Parents can also agree to a different amount if they both understand what the law requires and think another amount is more suitable for their situation. In some cases, if both parents agree that they don't really need the financial help, the court might even decide that no child support is necessary.
In Kentucky, child support is almost automatically granted when it’s requested – but you won't receive child support unless you formally ask for it. To do this, you'll need to file a petition with the court, so it’s helpful to consult with an attorney who can help you get on the right track.
From there, child support calculations are governed by a set of legal guidelines that consider a number of different factors, including the income levels of both parents and the time the children spend with each parent.
It’s important to keep in mind that this applies even if the parties were never married or if this is a post-divorce situation. Also, even though child support tends to be almost automatic in Kentucky once you request it, it's not guaranteed that you will be the one to receive it.
This means that if your children spend more time with the parent who has a higher income, there's a chance you may end up paying child support to them, even if you earn less. Meanwhile, if you're the child’s primary caregiver, you're more likely to be awarded child support.
Once the petition is granted, you’ll be eligible to receive child support starting from the date you filed the request, but not any time before that.
Ultimately, the court considers both the time each parent spends with the children and the income of each parent when making its decision. And remember, you have to formally request child support; it's not automatically granted. For more information on Child Support In A Kentucky Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step.