Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 501 into law on April 8, 2022 amending Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) Section 403.212, which governs how child support is calculated in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. However, House Bill 501 also stated that these changes would not be effective until March 31, 2023, which has led to significant changes in child support obligations within the last several weeks.
Under the revised Kentucky Child Support Guidelines and Worksheet, child support is now calculated based on the number of days a child, or children, are with a parent. Well, you might ask, “What is a day?” A “day” according to the revised KRS 403.212 is any period of more than 12 consecutive hours in a 24-hour period, where a child is under the care, control, or supervision of a parent.
The Kentucky Legislature also decided to include what amounts to a parenting time “credit,” that in effect reduces a parent’s child support obligation in accordance with how many days of parenting time they have per year. KRS 403.212 (4) refers to this credit system as “Parenting Time Adjustment Percentages, which are listed below. Please note that the numbers indicate the number of parenting time dates per year and the percentages indicate the reduction the parent will receive: 73-87 (10.5%), 88-115 (15%), 116-129 (20.5%), 130-142 (25%), 143-152 (30.5%), 153-162 (36%), 163-172 (42%), 173-181 (48.5%), 182-182.5 (50%).
How does this work in reality? Well, first let’s start with an example from the old Child Support Worksheet and Guidelines: Parent A’s gross monthly income is $2,000 and Parent B’s gross monthly income is $5,000 per month. The Parties have two minor children, which comes out to a base support of $1,306. Parent B makes 71% of the total gross household income, so we take 71% of $1,306 for a total of $927.26. Most judges would then subtract that total from Parent A’s $378.74 obligation to give them an offset for shared parenting time for a total of $548.52 payable by Parent B.
Under the new guidelines, using the same facts as above, the change occurs when you multiply the Parties’ base support amount, here $1,306, by the appropriate Parenting Time Adjustment Percentage, which here we will use 50%. That equation gives you a total of $653, which you then subtract from Parent B’s base monthly obligation of $927.26, for a total payable obligation $274.26 by Parent B.
As illustrated in the examples above, the new Kentucky Child Support Guidelines and Worksheet have an incredible effect on parental support obligations, perhaps for better or worse.