Supporting a child financially is a parent's job. It seems simple enough until there is a legal order to do it; then, it seems to get awfully complicated. If you will require a child support order in the near future, it is normal to have questions about it and what Kentucky laws have to say on the matter.
Some of the most common questions support paying parents ask are: How much will I have to pay? Can I ever request a modification to the amount? How long do I have to pay and what happens if I do not meet my obligation? All great questions and all have relatively simple answers.
How much will I have to pay?
The answer to this is different for everyone. In Kentucky, both parents are financially responsible for their child, so how much the non-custodial parent will have to pay will be determined by:
- Income of both parents
- Special needs of the child
- Custody arrangement
Other factors a judge may look at when considering child support amounts include extracurricular activities and educational needs -- among a variety of others.
Can I ever request a modification to an order?
Maybe. It certainly is possible if you meet the necessary requirements. In order for a judge to honor a modification request, you have to show that you've experienced a major circumstantial change, such as you lost your job, took a pay cut, experienced a family emergency or suffered a personal health crisis. If you desire a modification, filing the appropriate request in court is fairly simply. If will just be necessary to file supporting documentation along with your request.
How long do I have to pay and what happens if I don't or can't?
Generally speaking, a support paying parent will need to make payments until a child reaches the age of 18 and graduates high school. Under special circumstances, it is possible for the court to award a support extension.
The state of Kentucky treats the failure to pay child support pretty harshly. There is no justifiable reason for a parent to miss payments -- this includes if a parent is incarcerated for any reason. Parents who do not pay may face a number of consequences as there are enforcement options out there that can make one's life pretty difficult. Rather than deal with any of that, seeking an order adjustment as soon as possible is highly advised.
The child support issue can be a tough one to figure out. Thankfully, you can seek help in achieving a support order that works for you and meets the needs of your child.