Radcliff Child Support Attorneys
Helping Hardin County Parents Navigate Child Support Conflicts
Parents in Kentucky have a financial responsibility to care for their children. When parents get divorced or legally separated, there is a good chance one parent will be obligated to pay some level of child support. Conflicts can emerge when that parent is either unwilling or unable to make the monthly payments, especially if that support is essential to the ongoing care of the child.
Whether you are unable to reasonably pay your current level of child support obligations or are struggling to get your ex-partner to make payments, our Radcliff child support lawyers at Musselwhite Meinhart & Staples can help. Our team has over 100 years of legal experience and can assist you with child support cases of all types and complexities. We are familiar with the Kentucky laws governing child support and can work with you to identify sustainable legal solutions.
How Is Child Support Determined in Kentucky?
The primary purpose of child support is to ensure the parent with primary custody has the financial resources to care for the child. Even in situations of joint custody, the parent with a higher level of income is often still compelled to pay some level of child support. A court will set the monthly payment as part of a custody agreement.
The specific child support amount is rooted in the parent’s ability to pay, determined via their “gross income.” The gross income refers to any and all salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, or any other form of payment received from a job. Royalties, monetary gifts, dividends on investments, funds from a trust, and spousal or child support received from another marriage also factor into gross income. You will also need to take into account any existing child or spousal support obligations a parent currently maintains from previous marriages.
Things can become a little tricky if a parent is unemployed or underemployed. If they are actively looking for work, the child support obligation will be determined based on their current level of gross income, which will include their unemployment benefits and other forms of government support (though some means-tested programs, like food stamps, are excluded).
If a parent is deliberately refusing to look for or accept work, a court might nonetheless mandate a child support obligation that is greater than their current ability to pay. This incentivizes them to search for meaningful employment to avoid the consequences of missing child support payments. Exception exists for parents with a recognized disability that prevents them from seeking work and parents that are currently caring for a young child.
Taking all of these factors into account, an adjusted gross income will be tabulated, by which the monthly child support payment amount will be determined. In many cases, however, this is merely a starting number. If you are the one poised to receive child support, you may argue the amount is insufficient for the care of the child, especially if you believe your ex-partner has resources to pay more. Conversely, if you are expected to pay child support, you may believe the amount is too exorbitant for you to reliably pay. The court will resolve conflicts after hearing arguments from both sides.
How Long Do You Have To Pay Child Support in Kentucky?
Child support is paid in monthly installments based on the set amount the court determined. In Kentucky, you must pay this amount for every month until your child turns 18 and graduates from high school or until they turn 19, whichever comes first.
It is imperative you keep up with your child support payments. Not only does your child directly benefit from your support, you can also face severe consequences for falling behind.
Failure to make child support payments can result in your former spouse filing a motion to place you in contempt of court. Should the court agree you have failed to live up to your obligations, you could have your wages garnished or your driver’s license suspended, among other possible penalties.
If you are struggling to keep up with your payments, our Radcliff child support attorneys can help. We can explore requesting a modification to your child support amount or even consider bankruptcy as a means to reorganize your finances.
Can You Modify Child Support Payments in Kentucky?
Circumstances for one or both parents can dramatically change in the months or years after a divorce. Consequently, it is possible to request a modification to child support, especially if one’s financial circumstances have substantially changed.
In Kentucky, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services manages child support modification requests. Modifications can be enacted efficiently if both parents agree on the terms. However, parents will often disagree on the need for an increase or decrease in child support, requiring the parent requesting the modification to prove a “material” change. This generally encompasses any life event that changes a parent’s ability to pay. Child support changes can also be warranted if the child now requires additional support that was not originally factored into the custody agreement.
Events that can justify a modification of child support include:
- Parent suffers a job loss, demotion, or reduction of hours
- Parent receives a promotion or starts a new job with higher pay
- Parent relocates or moves to a new state
- Parent becomes disabled
- Parent remarries
- Parent has a new child
- Child requires new, increased expenses associated with healthcare, education, or special needs
Keep in mind that for a change to be considered “material,” it should generally lead to at least a 15% increase or decrease in the child support amount. The state will facilitate smaller changes that are negotiated and mutually agreed to, but they will generally not get involved with protracted conflicts over relatively minor amounts.
Successfully making the case for a modification of child support can often require the help of qualified legal representation, especially if the other parent is resistant to a change. Our team is familiar of what evidence will help prove material changes and can fight for a deal that is fair to you.
Get Help Negotiating Fair Child Support
Child support conflicts can quickly become stressful and abrasive, especially when payments are not being regularly made. Our Radcliff child support lawyers at Musselwhite Meinhart & Staples can help you efficiently navigate these conflicts and make sure your rights are honored. We are well-versed in all areas of family law and have helped many Kentucky clients support new and modified child support agreements. Avoid facing this contentious issue alone and get the compassionate legal assistance you deserve.
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