How does child support in Kentucky work?
Every child in the state of Kentucky has the legal right to financial support from their parents. Regardless of parents being together or separated, they have the responsibility to financially support their children. Divorced or separated parents are responsible to pay KY child support allowing their children to have the standard of living they would have enjoyed had the parents remained together.
KY child support payments are based on a number of factors including the parents’ incomes and the number of children in the family. The state’s child support guidelines do not allow for payments of child support to be lowered due to one parent spending more time with the child. It is a guideline that is in contrast to a number of states in America.
It is important to note that the non-custodial parent, the parent with fewer visiting hours and/or overnights with the child, pays child support to the custodial parent. The custodial parent has the most overnights and contact hours with the child. Kentucky child support courts assume that the custodial parent spends money throughout the week/month/year on the child of a similar value as is paid by the non-custodial parent in child support.
Overview of KY child support
Child support in KY is based on the policy that both parents are expected to financially support their children, even if they are not living with both parents, either a parent or a person who has physical custody of the child may apply for child support services at their local child support division.
The parent who does not have custody of the child can be ordered to pay child and medical support. Issues such as custody and visitation must be resolved in court if they are to be legally enforced. In determining how much child support to order, the court will consider both parents incomes, who the child lives with, expenses paid by either parent for child care, health insurance, dental insurance and child support for other children.
The Kentucky family court will then use the child support worksheet and child support guidelines to decide how much child support to order if the court believes the parent could be working but chooses not to, the court can impute income to that parent. This means that for the purposes of the child support worksheet, the court will act as if the parent is working and will put an income for that parent on the worksheet.
The KY court will usually impute at least minimum wage full time employment. However, if a parent has worked in the past and made more money than that, the court can impute a higher amount of income. If one parent is caring for a child of the parties who is age three or younger and is not working.
The KY court will not impute income to that parent. Paternity means fatherhood and once established, a legal duty to support a child is created even if the parents are unmarried or have never been married, they are both responsible for supporting their child until they become an adult.
How is KY child support calculated?
Calculating how much money you pay in child support can be confusing. Kentucky outlines the way to figure out child support payments in a few easy steps. Kentucky child support payment calculations are compiled by taking both parents’ incomes into consideration. Regardless if a parent has joint or sole custody of the child, both parents’ gross incomes are used to determine the amount of child support paid.
Once the parents’ gross incomes are determined, other items are factored into create a monthly payment. These items include:
- Number of children who will be supported
- The amount of alimony and/or child support paid by the non-custodial parent from a previous marriage/relationship
- The amount of alimony and/or child support paid by the custodial parent from a previous marriage/relationship
- The cost of the child/children’s daycare
- The cost of family health insurance
Why does paying KY child support matter?
Non-custodial parents greatly assist their children by paying child support in Kentucky. While you may not be there every minute of the day for them, you can ensure your children have a certain standard of living. Financial support ensures the child’s mental and physical development continues.
Not only does paying child support enable children to grow mentally and physically, but it ensures you remain on the right side of the law. A child support agreement is a legally binding contract and not making monthly payments can have serious consequences.
Custodial parents also have an obligation to their children by receiving the correct amount in child support each month. A custodial parent must ensure they receive the correct amount of Kentucky child support to provide food, shelter, and clothing to their children. These are a child’s basic needs that must be met.
Establishing paternity in KY child support
Paternity can be established voluntarily by both parents, or it may be established by the court. Paternity should be established when the child is born to an unmarried woman, when the child is born to a married woman and fathered by a man other than her husband.
When there is more than one possible father and before the child is 18, when the parents are unmarried, they can sign and have notarized the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form once the form is signed and notarized by both parents, a father and child relationship is legally created.
In addition to this, the acknowledged father’s name will appear on the child’s birth certificate. As father, this signed form has the same effect as a paternity judgment entered by the court. The voluntary acknowledgement form is voluntary. Do not sign this form if you are not the biological father of the child.
The child’s mother is married to another man and he does not sign the form. You want genetic test to determine if you are the biological father, you are the mother and want genetic tests to determine the child’s paternity or you are a minor. The voluntary acknowledgment can be voided or taken back within 60 days. The court may also void the acknowledgement.
The court must resolve the issues of paternity if the unmarried parents are under 18. The mother was married to someone other than the child’s father, and the husband does not sign the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or if there is more than one possible father.
What if the non-custodial parent won’t pay KY child support?
Kentucky’s Child Support Enforcement program (CSE) enforces child support orders in the state. The organization can use a number of its resources to enforce the child support order, enabling a custodial parent to receive the payments they are owed by non-custodial parents.
The Kentucky CSE may use a variety of tactics to obtain child support payments. These tactics may include:
- Intercepting the non-custodial parent’s state tax refund
- Intercepting the non-custodial parent’s federal tax refund
- Withholding the non-custodial parent’s monthly income
- Suspending the non-paying parent’s driver’s license
- Intercepting or confiscating the non-custodial parent’s lottery winnings
- Denying a passport application
A custodial parent must contact the CSE and apply for the organization’s services before anything can be done. The custodial parent can request action to be taken by the CSE.
Imputing the non-custodial parent’s income
In some cases, the non-custodial parent may pay child support but attempt to pay less money to the custodial parent. To do this, some non-custodial parents accept jobs making them underemployed. When this occurs, the court can impute the non-custodial parent’s income.
The judge can investigate a non-custodial parent’s employment history to determine what they believe to be the individual’s true earning potential. By discovering a non-custodial parent’s true earning potential, the judge can determine a child support base payment that should be paid. Judges can investigate the employment histories of both the non-custodial and custodial parent to discover their earning potentials.
KY child support frequently asked questions
Who is eligible to receive child support services?
A parent or person who has physical custody of the child may apply for KY child support services, families to receive public assistance, receive child support services automatically, child support payments collected for families receiving public assistance go to the state and federal governments as repayment for public assistance.
How do I request that my KY child support check be deposited in my bank account?
You must complete an application for direct deposit. This form is available under the quick links on the Cabinet for Health and Family Services website. You may also call one eight hundred two four eight one one six three.
How do I obtain a copy of my KY child support payment history?
Contact your local child support office or call one 800 four four three one five seven six to request a copy of your payment history.
Can I stop paying child support in Kentucky?
Child support and visitation are two separate things. You can’t stop paying support because you aren’t getting visitation. Also, your ex can’t stop visitation because you aren’t paying child support. You must continue paying your child support, as the court has ordered you to do. You will need to go back to the court and let the judge know that the other parent is not letting you get visitation.
The non-custodial parent is not paying his or her child support obligation, what can I do?
Contact your local child support office and request that enforcement action be taken. Many enforcement remedies may be used by child support staff to enforce a child support order.
I just lost my job. How do I decrease my current KY child support obligation?
The court would use the child support guidelines to determine if the current child support obligation should be decreased or increased. If the review shows a material change in circumstances, a 15 percent increase or decrease in the amount of support due than the child support order will be adjusted. Courts in Kentucky consider losing a job or having work hours significantly cut to be a continuing change in circumstances. The process of reviewing a case for possible modification may take up to six months.
What if I am not a U.S. citizen residing in Kentucky?
Even if you are not a US citizen, you still have a right to get child support and a duty to pay child support. It is not illegal to receive child support even if you’re not a legal resident. Also, it won’t hurt your chance to become a US resident or a citizen later. If you owe child support but do not pay, it may count against you later if you apply for residency, citizenship or refugee status.
What if I have a good reason for not wanting to get a child support order established?
You do not have to get a child support order established if you have a very good reason not to, such as you are afraid the other parent might hurt you or the child, the other parent was abusive to you or the child or your child as the result of incest or rape.
If you have any of these exceptions, tell your caseworker as soon as possible you will have to fill out some forms and your caseworker may ask you for proof such as a domestic violence order or your sworn statement.
A garnishment is in place. Why am I not receiving the full amount of KY support order?
The most common reason is that the payer does not have enough earnings to allow the deduction of the full amount. This is because the Consumer Credit Protection Act limits the amount that can be deducted as child support from earnings. The limit ranges from 50 percent of disposable earnings if that parent is remarried and supporting another family to sixty five percent. If that parent has no other dependents other than those for whom the support is being deducted.
I only receive SSI and I have a court date for child support. There is no way I can pay the full amount of child support. What do I do?
If you are the parent getting SSI, you should tell the court that your only income is SSI, you should get a statement from the Social Security Administration that you receive SSI and give the statement to the court. You may be entitled to a deviation in the child support order if you have already been ordered to pay child support and then you begin receiving SSI, you can ask the court to change your child support order.
KY child support enforcement
The Kentucky Child Support Program, which is administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, offers assistance to those who are trying to establish or enforce a child support obligation to provide these services. The child support program works closely with employers, federal, state and local agencies.
You do not have to be the child’s parent to qualify for child support services, services are available to aunts, uncles, grandparents, court appointed guardians or anyone living with and caring for a child who needs financial help supporting that child. Therefore, anyone who has custody of a child and needs help establishing paternity, establishing a child support order or help collecting current or past due child support payments is eligible to receive child support services.
When applying for KY enforcement services, you must provide
- certified copies of any divorce decrees
- child support orders
- custody order
- payment records must be provided.
It is important to note that either parent can request that paternity be established or that a support order be reviewed for possible changes.
Location and tracing services in KY child support cases
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services will not attempt location efforts if it has reason to believe locating that parent could be harmful to the child. It is helpful to provide the non-custodial parents
- Social Security number
- date of birth
- bank account number
- information about property holdings and investments
- old insurance policies
- credit card applications
- state and federal tax returns
- hospital records
- police records
- birth certificates
- business associates
If the non-custodial parent lives in another state, you can still apply for the same resources and services.
Child support enforcement in Kentucky
KY State law requires that if the non-custodial parent is employed, child support must be paid by income. Withholding the maximum amount of income that can be taken out depends on whether the obligated parent has remarried and is supporting a new family and whether arrears are owed that equal or exceed 12 weeks of support.
For example, up to 50 percent of a parent’s disposable earnings can be withheld if they are supporting a second family. Up to sixty five percent of a parent’s disposable earnings can be withheld if they are not supporting a second family and owe an arrears that are 12 weeks or more past due.
Once the Division of Child Support has become pay of the KY child support obligation. All child support payments must be paid to the centralized collection unit. After your support obligation is that you will generally receive payments within six weeks. If the non-custodial parent has more than one child support obligation, all wage payments received will be sent to the families based on the amounts ordered in each case. This allows the child support division to keep track of when the parent pays and does not pay.
As payments are made, they will be sent to you until the support obligation owed for the month is paid. If the non-custodial parent pays more than the amount owed for the month, any extra amount will be applied to past due support owed to you.
Any extra amount will be used to pay past due support that accumulated while you received public assistance or foster care benefits. If you have never received public assistance and no past due support is owed to you, or the extra amount will be held by the Fed and sent to you the first day of the following month.