Sweeping Reforms for Kentucky Child Support Laws

In a bipartisan effort to update child support laws, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed House Bill 404, which alters several aspects of the state’s child support scheme. After quick approval by the Senate and the governor, the terms of this bill will take effect as law on March 1, 2022.

Why Kentucky House Bill 404 is Important

House Bill 404 is the first update to Kentucky’s child support laws in 15 years. The bill reforms Kentucky’s child support guidelines to align with federal specifications, and it includes numerous updates designed to help Kentucky families better serve their children.

For instance, the new law will take inflation into account, and update default amounts to reflect the modern economy. It also provides more flexibility for parents who get a new job or share custody.

A New Method for Calculating Shared Parenting Child Support

Kentucky’s new child support law establishes a standard method for calculating child support in situations where parents share custody. Under the current system, child support in shared parenting cases is often set at the discretion of the county court, leading to variation and uncertainty. 

The new system specifies how support will be determined based on a percentage of overnight stays with each parent and other factors. Parents furnishing overnight stays are expected to incur certain costs such as food, transportation, and entertainment. A parent may not claim to have provided an overnight stay if all they are doing is “providing a child with a place to sleep.”

Additional Updates in the Child Support Laws

House Bill 404 updates a range of features in the current child support laws, adjusting terms to better accommodate parents paying and receiving child support. Besides the calculation method for shared custody, some of the other key updates include:

  • Increases in the child support schedule, to be proportionately divided between parents
  • Creation of a “self-support reserve” that take into account parents’ need to support themselves when factoring income into child support calculations
  • Increases in the amount the party receiving child support must pay for extraordinary medical expenses before the other parent is required to supply reimbursement. The current amount is set at $100 and this will increase to $250
  • Changes in the way the court can impute potential income (includes assets and residence, employment/earning history/job skills, education level and age, local labor market, record of seeking work, and other background factors)

To give courts, families, and enforcement agencies time to prepare, the new child support laws will not go into effect until March 1, 2022. However, it is wise for families to preview the effects of the changes to determine whether they may want to seek a modification of existing orders.

Learn How House Bill 404 Could Affect Your Child Support

If you’re wondering how House Bill 404 might affect your child support arrangement in Kentucky, contact Schaffner Family Law for family legal help. We are ready to answer your questions and pursue the child support you deserve. To begin, contact us at 859-491-1011.