Both parents have an obligation to support their children, regardless of whether they were married to each other or not. Unfortunately, child support can be a contentious issue, particularly if one parent is unable or unwilling to meet this obligation.
Because the accurate calculation of child support is essential for both you and your child, it is helpful to have a Florence child support lawyer representing you. Our skilled family attorneys understand the state’s child support laws and could work to protect your rights throughout the process.
What Judges Consider When Determining Child Support
According to Kentucky Revised Statutes § 403.211, there is a formula for calculating child support, referred to as the Kentucky Child Support Guidelines. Courts consider certain information when determining the appropriate support amount, including:
- Each parent’s income
- The health insurance premiums for the child
- A child’s special needs
- Whether a parent is owed or paid support for children from other relationships
- The time that each parent spends with the child
There is a presumption that the amount generated by the Child Support Guidelines is suitable to meet a child’s needs. The formula ensures that each parent pays their fair share to support their children. A child support attorney in Florence could explain the Guidelines and how to apply them in a specific case.
When is Child Support Modifiable?
Even after parents reach a child support agreement or a judge issues a support order, a change in circumstances could warrant a modification of the support amount. Under Kentucky Revised Statutes § 403.213, the changed circumstances must be substantial and continuing. A change in child support of 15 percent or more is presumed to be a substantial change. Other such changes could include a parent’s loss of employment, a child or parent’s disability, or a change in the custody schedule.
Remarriage is not a factor that would trigger a child support modification. The new spouse’s income is not a factor the Court would consider in setting a child support obligation. However, each child support matter is unique and courts must evaluate them on a case-by-case basis.
Deviating from Child Support Guidelines
When the application of the Child Support Guidelines would be “unjust or inappropriate,” a judge may deviate from those guidelines and order a higher or lower child support amount. When determining support, the child’s best interests are the primary consideration, not necessarily what amount the guidelines generate. When a child has special needs, a parent earns a high income, or the parents share equal custody of the child, a judge might choose to deviate.
For every child support deviation, a court must document why they chose to veer from the Guidelines. If they do not, a party could appeal the child support order. In a case where a deviation may be warranted, a parent is well-advised to seek the advice of a Florence child support lawyer.
Terminating Child Support Orders
When a child turns 18 or graduates high school, often a party will need to file a motion with the court to terminate his/her child support obligation. If a parent is paying child support for more than one child, and the parents cannot reach an agreement on the amount of child support for the remaining minor children, the parent paying child support must file a motion to recalculate the support based only on the remaining minor children.
There are some exceptions to terminating child support. If a child is disabled, a parent may be obligated to pay support for the duration of the child’s life depending on the nature and the extent of the child’s disability. Parents may also agree to extend child support beyond the statutory end dates if they agree that doing so would benefit their child. These types of child support agreements must be worded carefully, and a capable lawyer could draft a binding contract.
Additionally, if a child is granted emancipation, the parent paying support could request their payments come to an end. A child who moves out from the custodial parent’s home and becomes self-support before age 18 may also be deemed ineligible for continued support. However, if they lose their job and return home, a court could have the payments reinstated.
Reach Out to a Caring Florence Child Support Lawyer
If you and your partner decide to end your relationship, you need to ensure that your child will still be supported financially. A Florence child support lawyer has the skills and training necessary to guide you through the Child Support Guidelines and assist you with any necessary modifications or deviations in the support amount. Call now to learn more.