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How is my child support obligation calculated?

A common question we get at the office, and sometimes at Food Fair buying groceries, is how in the world is my child support obligation calculated? How does the court know how much to make my ex pay me per month? How do I know if this amount is fair? Child support is a hot topic in the domestic law world. With these few bits of information, hopefully you will feel a bit more informed.

Child Support Guidelines.

Child support in Kentucky is statutory- meaning, the courts follow laws written by our state legislature. These are called the Kentucky Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines are meant to keep the child in a stable financial situation after the split, and to make the financial obligation between the parents as fair as possible. The Kentucky Child Support guidelines provide a table which sets forth child support amounts based on the combined monthly gross income of the parents and the number of children. The amount set forth in the table is then divided between the parents in proportion to their combined monthly income. Credit is given to each parent for various expenses, such as child care costs and children’s health insurance premiums. Courts may stray from the guidelines in certain circumstances, such as extraordinary medical needs of the child or if the parents agree to a different amount.

What if my child’s father/mother is unemployed?

If a parent is voluntarily unemployed, or underemployed, the court may still calculate child support on the basis of the parent’s potential income. The court can determine this “potential income” based on the parent’s recent work history, their qualifications, prevailing job opportunities, and more. If a parent is disabled, incarcerated, or is caring for a child under the age of 3 with whom you share responsibility, the court may not imply a “potential income” for that parent.

Child Support Calculator.

If you’re still curious and looking for a ballpark number, our state government has published an online calculator that helps generate your potential child support obligation that follows the guidelines. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes. You plug into the calculator several variables; such as, how many children involved, who is the custodial parent, each parent’s gross income, deductions for maintenance payments, any current existing child support obligations, and health insurance costs, just to name a few. It then calculates your estimated monthly obligation for which you can see a detailed breakdown, by pressing “Print Worksheet” at the end. But remember, the family court will always have the final say on the amount of child support that is ordered, and it is best to have legal representation. To check out the online worksheet, visit: https://csws.chfs.ky.gov/csws/.

This article is not intended to provide legal advice, but rather, provide information to the curious. We always recommend seeking the advice of a licensed attorney to answer your questions and fulfill your legal needs.