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Do I Have To Pay Child Support With Joint Custody?

Northern Kentucky judges vary in their application of child support vis-a-vis custody and parenting time.  Kentucky legislature has issued standard child support guidelines which are very easy to follow such that you need only a few items of information to calculate: parties' incomes, daycare cost, health insurance cost and any other ordered support.  This seemingly over simplistic calculation, however, is fraught with peril. The Kentucky guideline,s outlined in KRS 403.221 is based on an antiquated version of standard parenting time, wherein one party has primary custody and the other party pays child support.  More often joint custody is awarded in cases and the parties have close to an equal share of parenting time. The simplest form is when both parties have one-half (1/2) of the time, and both earn the same amount of money, there should be no child support paid to or from either party.  Both parties should share equally in division of costs for school, clothing, extracurricular, fees, lunches and all other expenses for the children.  Rarely, however is that the case.  Many times one parent may have 60% of the time with the children or the parents may not earn equal amounts of income. Each judge in Northern Kentucky differs slightly in the application of the guidelines and awarding child support in cases of joint custody.  If parenting time is equal, some judges offset child support per guidelines and one party pays the difference.  Other judges still enforce full child support from the parent who earns more income, allowing the other parent to pay most of the child expenses.  Still some judges try to evaluate each case independently, determining who typically and traditionally pays for the child expenses. Child expenses are also often a point of contention in support and custody cases.  Extracurricular expense are typically equally divided, but often divided in proportion to the parties income.  Just what is covered as an extracurricular expense may also be debated.  For example, if your child plays in the band, the band fee would be an extracurricular expense as would most travel associated therewith.  Parties would dispute the rental of the instrument or travel expenses if one party chooses to drive and spend the night at a hotel. Knowledge of the local judges is essential in determining the correct amount of child support.  While the law would like to convince parties hat support and custody are not related, they are inextricably intertwined in reality.  Agreeing to a custodial situation could have long lasting impact on current and future child support obligations. If you have questions, contact an attorney who practices in your county.  Northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Campbell, Kenton and Gallatin, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected].

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