How is child support calculated?

Melissa DossDivorce

I think the number one question I receive on a regular basis is “how is child support calculated?” In Kentucky, when a court sets child support, the court begins by looking at the monthly gross income of both parents. Please note that it is not based on the parent’s take home pay. The court will use both salary history and W2’s for the last few years. The court will consider anything the IRS considers income.

The courts will utilize the Kentucky child support guidelines as defined by statue once gross income has been determined.

The statutes provide a monthly base child support amount as determined by the number of minor children the parents have in common and the combined gross monthly income. This determine how much money is necessary to support the child or children. The courts will then determine the appropriate and proportionate amount per parent.

If your proportionate share of the combined gross income is 60% and your spouses is 40%, then you would be required to pay your spouse 60% of the base child support amount. In addition to this amount, the court will also apportion the costs of work-related childcare and health insurance premiums in proportion to the parties’ incomes.

Courts are required to use the child support guidelines unless there are strange circumstances. For instance, the courts can take voluntary reductions in pay as a means to increase the payment amount. So if you quit your high paying job and take a job making minimum wage as a means to not pay child support, the courts will still make you pay based on your previous and higher gross income.