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Kentucky Child Support Definitions

The court may adjust the minimum child support award, of either or both parent’s share of the minimum child support award, based upon the following considerations:

(a)A child’s extraordinary medical or dental needs;
(b)A child’s extraordinary educational, job training, or special needs;
(c)Either parent’s own extraordinary needs, such as medical expenses;
(d)The independent financial resources, if any, of the child or children;
(e)Combined parental income in excess of the Kentucky child support guidelines;
(f)The parents of the child, having demonstrated knowledge of the amount of child support established by the Kentucky child support guidelines, have agreed to child support different from the guideline amount. However, no such agreement shall be the basis of any deviation if public assistance is being paid on behalf of a child under the provisions of Part D of Title IV of the Federal Social Security Act; and
(g)Any similar factor of an extraordinary nature specifically identified by the court which would make application of the guidelines inappropriate.

DEFINITIONS:

(a)"Income" means actual gross income of the parent if employed to full capacity or potential income if unemployed or underemployed.

(b)"Gross income" includes income from any source, except as excluded in this subsection, and includes but is not limited to income from salaries, wages, retirement and pension funds, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), gifts, prizes, and alimony or maintenance received. Specifically excluded are benefits received from means-tested public assistance programs, including but not limited to public assistance as defined under Title IV-A of the Federal Social Security Act, and food stamps.

(c)For income from self-employment, rent, royalties, proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership of a partnership or closely held corporation, "gross income" means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required for self-employment or business operation. Straight-line depreciation, using Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines, shall be the only allowable method of calculating depreciation expense in determining gross income. Specifically excluded from ordinary and necessary expenses for purposes of this guideline shall be investment tax credits or any other business expenses inappropriate for determining gross income for purposes of calculating child support. Income and expenses from self-employment or operation of a business shall be carefully reviewed to determine an appropriate level of gross income available to the parent to satisfy a child support obligation. In most cases, this amount will differ from a determination of business income for tax purposes. Expense reimbursement or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business or personal use of business property or payments of expenses by a business, shall be counted as income if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses such as a company or business car, free housing, reimbursed meals, or club dues.

(d)If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, child support shall be calculated based on a determination of potential income, except that a determination of potential income shall not be made for a parent who is physically or mentally incapacitated or is caring for a very young child, age three (3) or younger, for whom the parents owe a joint legal responsibility. Potential income shall be determined based upon employment potential and probable earnings level based on the obligor’s or obligee’s recent work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing job opportunities and earnings levels in the community. Action to establish or enforce child support -- Guidelines to serve as rebuttable presumption for award -- Factors that may rebut presumption for support award -- Allocation of child-care costs and extraordinary medical expenses -- Order for payment of health insurance coverage -- Disclosure of information -- Noncustodial parent’s health plan -- Attachment of income for child support.

(1)An action to establish or enforce child support may be initiated by the parent, custodian, or agency substantially contributing to the support of the child. The action may be brought in the county in which the child resides or where the defendant resides.

(2)At the time of initial establishment of a child support order, whether temporary or permanent, or in any proceeding to modify a support order, the child support guidelines in KRS 403.212 shall serve as a rebuttable presumption for the establishment or modification of the amount of child support. Courts may deviate from the guidelines where their application would be unjust or inappropriate. Any deviation shall be accompanied by a written finding or specific finding on the record by the court, specifying the reason for the deviation.

(3)A written finding or specific finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case shall be sufficient to rebut the presumption and allow for an appropriate adjustment of the guideline award if based upon one (1) or more of the following criteria:

(a)A child’s extraordinary medical or dental needs;
(b)A child’s extraordinary educational, job training, or special needs;
(c)Either parent’s own extraordinary needs, such as medical expenses;
(d)The independent financial resources, if any, of the child or children;
(e)Combined parental income in excess of the Kentucky child support guidelines;
(f)The parents of the child, having demonstrated knowledge of the amount of child support established by the Kentucky child support guidelines, have agreed to child support different from the guideline amount. However, no such agreement shall be the basis of any deviation if public assistance is being paid on behalf of a child under the provisions of Part D of Title IV of the Federal Social Security Act; and
(g)Any similar factor of an extraordinary nature specifically identified by the court which would make application of the guidelines inappropriate.

(4)"Extraordinary" as used in this section shall be determined by the court in its discretion.

(5)When a party has defaulted or the court is otherwise presented with insufficient evidence to determine gross income, the court shall order child support based upon the needs of the child or the
previous standard of living of the child, whichever is greater. An order entered by default or due to insufficient evidence to determine gross income may be modified upward and arrearages awarded from the date of the original order if evidence of gross income is presented within two (2) years which would have established a higher amount of child support pursuant to the child support guidelines set forth in KRS 403.212.

(6)The court shall allocate between the parents, in proportion to their adjusted gross income, reasonable and necessary child care costs incurred due to employment, job search, or education leading to employment, in addition to the amount ordered under the child support guidelines.

(7) The court shall order the cost of health care of the child to be paid by either or both parents of the child regardless of who has physical custody. The court .order shall include:

I. A judicial directive designating which parent shall have financial responsibility for providing health care for the dependent child, which shall include, but not be limited to, insurance coverage, payments of necessary health care deductibles or copayments; and

2. A statement providing that if the designated parent’s health care coverage provides for covered services for dependent children beyond the age of majority, then any unmarried children up to
twenty-five (25) years of age who are full-time students enrolled in and attending an accredited educational institution and who are primarily dependent on the insured parent for maintenance and support shall be covered.

If health care insurance coverage is not reasonable and available at the time the request for the coverage is made, the court order shall provide for health care insurance coverage at the time it becomes reasonable and available.

(8)The cost of extraordinary medical expenses shall be allocated between the parties in proportion to their adjusted gross incomes. "Extraordinary medical expenses" means uninsured expenses in excess of one hundred dollars ($100) per child per calendar year. "Extraordinary medical expenses" includes, but is not limited to, the costs that are reasonably necessary for medical, surgical, dental, orthodontal, optometric, nursing, and hospital services; for professional counseling or psychiatric therapy for diagnosed medical disorders; and for drugs and medical supplies, appliances, laboratory, diagnostic, and therapeutic services.

(9)The court order shall include the Social Security numbers of all parties subject to a support order.

(10)In any case administered by the Cabinet for Families and Children, if the parent ordered to provide health care coverage is enrolled through an insurer but fails to enroll the child under family coverage, the other parent or the Cabinet for Families and Children may, upon application, enroll the child.

(11)In any case administered by the cabinet, information received or transmitted shall not be published or be open for public inspection, including reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse if the disclosure of the information could be harmful to the custodial parent or the child of the parent. Necessary information and records may be furnished as specified by KRS 205.175.

(12)In the case in which a noncustodial parent provides health care coverage, and changes employment, and the new employer provides health care coverage, the Cabinet for Families and Children shall transfer notice of the provision for coverage for the child to the employer, which shall operate to enroll this child in the noncustodial parent’s health plan, unless the noncustodial parent contests the notice as specified by KRS Chapter 13B.

(13)Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, any wage or income shall not be exempt from attachment or assignment for the payment of current child support or owed or to-be-owed child support.