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Wolfe & Houlehan PLLC
226 North Upper Street
Lexington, KY 40507
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Our attorneys may represent all Kentucky residents regarding family law issues. Our office is located in downtown Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky but in many cases our communications with clients may occur through this website, by email, or by phone. We generally make court appearances only in Fayette and nearby counties, but court appearances are not required in every case.
Contact us regarding this legal issue using our secure online form. Our attorneys will review your info and get back to you. Flat fees may be available depending on the legal service requested.
Kentucky statutes KRS 403.211 and KRS 403.212 provide the Child Support Guidelines used to determine the presumptive amount of child support. Kentucky’s courts only occasionally deviate from the child support guidelines. In the rare event that the courts do deviate from the guidelines, the court must set forth the reason for the deviation in writing.
Once the child support amount is established by the Court’s Order, it can only be modified under certain circumstances. KRS 403.213 sets forth the criteria for modifying child support. KRS 403.213 states that the child support obligation can only be modified if there is a “material change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing.” The same statute goes on to state that a “material change in circumstances” is presumed to have occurred if the proposed modification would results in at least a 15% change in the amount of monthly support.
If your children are in need of child support, you are not receiving enough child support, you believe that you are unlawfully having to pay too much child support, or you have any other child support related issue, please do not hesitate to contact our firm so that we can evaluate your case. In some circumstances our firm is able to take child support collections matters on a contingency fee basis so that no payments are owed to our firm unless and until the subject child support is collected.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How is child support calculated in Kentucky? How much child support do I owe / am I owed?
KRS 403.211 and KRS 403.212 set forth the guidelines for establishing the appropriate amount of child support in Kentucky. Rather than going through the statutes and figuring out how to calculate the expected child support amount, we suggest that you simply click on this free link to Estimate Child Support. This free child support calculation tool is provided by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. If you want to know how to calculate child support using the statutory rules, you will want to see the following forms that are provided by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services: CS-71- Worksheet For Monthly Child Support Obligation, CS-71.1- Worksheet For Monthly Child Support Obligation Exception, CS-71 - Worksheet For Monthly Child Support Obligation in (Spanish), CS-71.1 - Worksheet For Monthly Child Support Obligation Exception (Spanish), Child Support Guidelines Table
- Can I change jobs and pay less child support if I make less money?
A parent who is responsible for paying child support should ALWAYS be extremely careful when “voluntarily” changing his or her employment situation if it is potentially going to lower the person’s income. The reason is that the Court has the statutory authority to impute the income from the higher-paying job so that the child support obligation is not lowered, even though the new job pays less. Hence, if you are contemplating making a job change that may result in decreased income, you should take into account the possibility that your child support payments will not be reduced, and contact our firm or some other family law firm in Kentucky to help ensure that you do not end up between a rock and a hard place when child support payments are due and you do not have the means to make the payments.
- If I get a raise, will I have to pay more child support?
Once the child support amount is established, it can only be modified under certain circumstances. KRS 403.213 sets forth the criteria for modifying child support. KRS 403.213 states that the child support obligation can only be modified if there is a “material change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing.” And the same statute goes on to state that a “material change in circumstances” is presumed to have occurred if the proposed modification results in at least a 15% change in the amount of monthly support. Hence, if the other parent figures out that your raise would increase your child or children's child support by at least 15%, then the court will very likely find that it at least amounts to a "material change in circumstances" and then the issue will turn on whether it is "substantial and continuing." If so, then there is a very good chance that your child support will be raised if a motion is properly brought before the Court. But, when such issues are debated in court, it is always a good idea to have an attorney familiar with child support available to consider all legal arguments for or against the proposed action.
- How do I reduce or lower my child support payments and obligations?
Based on the same law referenced in the previous question, if your income has been substantially reduced for some reason that is not your fault, then your child support obligation could likely be reduced upon properly moving the Court for the lower obligation. Again, people inexperienced in family law issues or the legal system are well advised to have an attorney assist them regarding this issue.
- How can I get the father or mother of my child to pay more child support?
Often times the custodial parent will learn that the non-custodial (a.k.a., the non-residential parent) has acquired a new job that pays significantly more than the old job, which often qualifies the children for an increase in child support. Certain provisions of KRS 403.213, described in the previous two questions, speak to this issue. Hence, if you have a reason to believe that the non-custodial parent who is responsible for child support is now earning enough income to increase his or her monthly child support obligation by at least 15%, then you should contact our firm immediately so that we can act on your behalf to increase the child support obligation.
- What if the father or mother of my child is self-employed and I know the person makes more money than what he or she is claiming?
Self-employment often allows people to not only evade taxes, but unfortunately to also evade child support. That said, our firm has resources at our disposal such as the ability to make discovery demands (i.e. requiring the other parent to provide bank records, invoices, customer data, tax returns, financial statements, etc., so that we may be able to prove that the parent makes more money than what he or she is claiming. That way, the other parent does not get away with a lower support obligation than is owed.
- How can I get help collecting back child support or child support arrearages?
Our firm can use its debt collection experience to help you obtain back support. Lots of parents in Kentucky are owed tens of thousands of dollars in back child support and they just consider it a lost cause figuring that they will never be able to collect it. Significantly, however, child support is one of a few types of debt that is generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and as long as you preserve your rights to collect the debt, you may find out that the person who owes the child support arrearages has sufficient funds to pay. Whether the obligor is finally making good money, inherited a house from his or her parents, etc., you can employ our firm to obtain judicial liens, wage garnishments, bank account garnishments, or other methods to obtain what is rightfully owed to you.
- Will I go to jail for not paying child support?
Courts do not have much patience when it comes to parents who choose to not help financially support their children. That said, if a parent is financially unable to help support his or her children because the parent has been laid off from work for economic reasons or for some other reason that is not that parent’s fault, then Kentucky courts are much more forgiving as far as sending that parent to jail. However, unless the financially-troubled parent successfully moves the Court for a lowered child support obligation, then the child support arrearages will continue to build at the same rate, and that parent will still be on the hook for the entire back child support amount.
- How backed up do I have to be in child support before I go to jail?
There is no absolute rule as to how backed up someone must be before becoming incarcerated for the failure to make child support payments. And although courts do not have much patience when it comes to parents who choose to not help financially support their children, most of the time Courts provide at least one warning before ordering jail time. And generally, Kentucky law is much more forgiving if a parent is financially unable to help support his or her children because the parent has been laid off from work for economic reasons or for some other reason that is not that parent’s fault.
- Will my child support obligations automatically stop when the last child turns eighteen?
No. You will either need to petition the court yourself or contact our law firm or some other firm or attorney to assist you in having the obligation terminated.
- Will my child support obligations automatically lower as each child turns 18?
No, you will either need to petition the court yourself or contact our law firm or some other firm or attorney to assist you in having the obligation lowered.
- How do I file a motion to start collecting child support?
We recommend that you either contact the Child Support Enforcement department to have a publicly provided attorney assist you, or contact our firm or some other private attorney for assistance. Kentucky’s Family Law Courts generally hold self-represented clients to the same standards as trained attorneys when it comes to civil procedure and other rules of the legal system.
- Can I make the father or mother of my child pay child support for the period of time they were not paying anything?
If paternity has not been established, you may be able to get back support for up to 3 years, however, in most other circumstances it is next to impossible to get back support, which is why it is so important to go ahead and get a Motion for Child Support filed because the Court is able to backdate child support to the date the motion is filed.
- How can I make the mother or father pay child support when they refuse?
Both the Child Support Enforcement department(s) in Kentucky as well as private attorneys have the ability to use our legal system to help ensure your children are paid by utilizing legal devices such as wage garnishments, bank account garnishments, social security garnishments, etc.
- Do I have to have a court order for the mother or father to be legally responsible for paying child support?
- If I was tricked into having a child then will I still have to pay child support?
The rationale behind Kentucky’s child support laws is that children should enjoy the same standard of living that they would have enjoyed if the parents were raising them as a couple. Because the child support law was designed for the child’s benefit alone, even if the custodial parent “tricked” the non-custodial parent into having the child, it does not affect the amount of child support obligation.
- Where can the child support motion be filed?
In the county where the child resides or where the Defendant parent resides.
- Is it possible that the court will award more or less than what the guidelines state is the appropriate amount?
The court may deviate from these guidelines only if it makes a written finding that deviation from the guidelines is just or appropriate because: 1) the child has extraordinary medical or dental needs; 2) the child has extraordinary educational, job training or special needs; 3) either parent has extraordinary needs; 4) the independent financial resources, if any, of the child or children; 5) the combined parental income in excess of Kentucky child support guidelines; 6) the parents have demonstrated knowledge of the amount of child support established by the guidelines and have agreed to child support different from the amount prescribed by the guidelines but no agreement will be the basis of any deviation if public assistance is being paid on behalf of a child by Social Security Administration; and 7) any other factor of an extraordinary nature specifically defined by the court which would make application of the guidelines inappropriate. See KRS 403.211(3).
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