Kentucky Child Support & Parenting Time Calculations
In Kentucky, the amount of child support is figured based on income only. Parenting time doesn't normally figure into the formula.
The court may deviate from its strict child support guidelines on a case-by-case basis when the non-residential parent's visitation time greatly exceeds what is considered customary. Accurate parenting time numbers can directly affect your child support--whether you pay or receive.
Kentucky attorneys and judges often rely on parenting time estimates, even if they are incorrect, because counting parenting time is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.
Using estimates means your parenting time totals are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.
To calculate parenting time, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to add up hours for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.
The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.
Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total parenting time, and you can see how your parenting time changes each year due to holidays and other events.
You can also track what actually happens, and show how much parenting time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.
In any divorce, Kentucky family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. In many states, physical custody has an impact on the amount of child support, but not in Kentucky.
In a Kentucky physical custody case, the family court will designate a primary physical custodian. It can put physical custody under either a sole or joint designation, but this has no impact on child support. The primary physical custodian is the parent who hosts the children the majority of the time. The noncustodial parent has visitation or parenting time.
According to the Kentucky law, the family court must designate a primary custodian even if the parents share equal parenting time with their children
In Kentucky, the child support formula is the same for sole and joint physical custody. A percentage of the parent's combined income is used in the child support formula.
The percentages are as follows:
- 1 child is 20%
- 2 children are 25%
- 3 children are 30%
- 4 children are 35%
- 5 children are 40%
- 6 children are 45%
Unlike many other states, Kentucky gives no automatic parenting time credit that can reduce your child support amount.
The only way parenting time can influence the amount of child support you receive or pay is if the family court deems the visitations are substantially in excess of those usually approved by the court. The court will make modifications to child support on a case-by-case basis.
Kentucky has no approved formula to use when parents set up equal parenting time. Any decisions about abatement of child support are up to the family court.
Accurate parenting time percentages are important because Kentucky law allows for exceptions to be made in the child support amount if you can show you qualify for special consideration.
The law states that the court can deviate from the standard child support guidelines but doesn't specify parenting time as one of those reasons.
It is possible that if the court finds extraordinary visitation time by the non-custodial parent, it may consider an abatement of support. While this scenario is rare, at least you can present the court with accurate numbers.
Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert earns $4,000 per month, while Mary earns $2,400 per month after allowable deductions. They have two children.
Here are the steps to figure out their child support amount:
- Their monthly income totals $6,400, of which Mary contributes 37 percent and Robert contributes 63 percent.
- Robert and Mary are allowed to subtract $200 based on certain allowable adjustments outlined in the Kentucky Revised Statues. In this case, adjustments included health care coverage for the children.
- Their revised combined income is $6,200. This monthly total is then located on the table in the Kentucky child support guidelines.
- According to the table, the total base support obligation for two children is $1,186.
- That amount is then multiplied by the percentage of income for both Robert and Mary. For Robert, the base amount is $747 and for Mary, it is $438.
- Robert pays the $747 in child support to Mary if he is the non-residential parent. Mary pays $438 if she is the non-residential parent.
If either parent were able to show that their parenting time greatly exceeded the standard as a non-residential parent, the Kentucky family court may consider reducing the amount of child support.
Kentucky's child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for joint custody child support:
- The non-residential parent's adjusted monthly income
- The number of children under the age of 18 or upon graduation from high school, whichever is last.
- The cost of health insurance premiums for the children
- A pre-existing child support or alimony obligation by either parent
Parenting time only figures into a child support formula when you can show that your total parenting time is substantially in excess of what is usually approved by the Kentucky family courts.
Even then, Kentucky courts have avoided setting up a specific formula that includes parenting time so as not to put a dollar amount on visitations.
Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.
Here are some other reasons why accurate overnight numbers help you, the other parent and your children:
- It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
- It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
- It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
- It is compliant with Kentucky law
Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.
To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Kentucky, remember these 5 things:
- Kentucky figures 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.
- Kentucky guidelines do not mention parenting time as a valid claim on deviating from the state guidelines. Any decision to reduce child support is up to the individual family court.
- To show the court your accurate parenting time numbers, provide calculations to the hour of your actual parenting time and show how that compares to your county's parenting time guidelines.
- A Kentucky family court may agree to an abatement of child support due to above average parenting time that exceeds the county's customary visitation guidelines.
- Regardless of sole or joint custody, one parent will be designated the primary custodial parent while the other is the secondary custodial parent.
Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate your total parenting time to present to an Kentucky family court.