How is Child Support Calculated?

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In Kentucky, child support is calculated based on the gross income of both parents using the income shares model.  This is the model used in thirty-eight states as of this writing (sidebar:  Illinois still uses a model based on net income of the obligor, but the 2010 Child Support Advisory Committee recommended that the Land of Lincoln adopt the income shares model.)  The idea behind the income shares model is that, in an intact family, parental incomes are pooled for the benefit of the household, including any children.

In calculating child support, the gross incomes of each parent are adjusted for any maintenance paid to or received from the other parent as well as any child support paid for any prior born children.  These two incomes are then added together to get the total combined adjusted gross parental income. That figure is then plugged into the guideline table based on how many children are involved.  This number is the base child support amount.  The base child support amount is then modified based on whether either parent is paying for health insurance for the children and, possibly, child care costs.  Each parent is then responsible for a portion of the total child support figure based on his/her proportion of total combined adjusted gross parental income.  If a parent pays for the health insurance cost of the children he/she gets a dollar for dollar credit.

There are a number of sites on the web where you can estimate your child support obligation.  The Commonwealth of Kentucky's is the most up to date and can be found here.  If you have more questions, please contact the Alford Law Office.

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