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Child Support Archives

How To Calculate Child Support with 50/50 Parenting

Q: Is Child Support zero ($0.00) when there is equal, shared or 50/50 parenting? A: Qualified, maybe. Many parents ask why they should be paying child support when they have 50/50 parenting. The answer is not so simple that there is never child support or always child support. The simple answer lies in how you word the question. If there is 50/50 parenting, both parties are equally responsible for costs and expenses, that they share in uncovered medical and extracurricular expenses and they make the same income, then there is no child support from or to either parent. IN reality, all of the foregoing is seldom the case. Often one party makes more than the other; in that case most courts issue some sort of offset from the traditional child support guidelines. The Kentucky child support guidelines were set forth with an assumption of a primary residential parent or sole custody. With modern courts and the new presumption of shared (50/50) parenting, the child support guidelines are only the starting block to calculate support. Often one party pays additional cost for medical insurance. In that case, even if the incomes are equal the parties should divide the cost for providing coverage for the child(ren). How do you calculate expenditures? Do parties equally divide all expenses or do they each provide necessities for the child/children while in their care. What about lunch money and larger items such as school dances and field trips? Do the parties need to agree on expenses? Most family law courts calculate support from each parent, then deduct the lower from the higher to achieve a child support number based on equal parenting offset. Uncovered medical and extracurricular expenses are most often divided in proportion to incomes, and not simply with an equal split. Note: parents should discuss and try to agree on division of outside expenses such as cell phones, car insurance and vehicles for older children. If you have a child support, custody or dissolution, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney who regularly practices in your county. For consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected] to schedule.

Fathers Enjoy Equal Parenting Rights in Kentucky

Kentucky passed a new law last week which presumes equal parenting time for both parents. As such, Father's rights groups applaud the new law. The new law KRS 403.280 (link to House Bill) applies to temporary orders for custody rights. The law states, in pertinent part: there shall be a presumption, rebuttable by a preponderance of evidence, that the parents (or de facto custodian) shall have temporary joint custody and shall share equally in parenting time. The law on custody has for the past 20 years been gender neutral, although there remains a child support caveat that you cannot impute income to a mother with a child under 4 years of age. There has been no such presumptions in the law of any parenting schedule. As a result, many of the counties have created local rules where "Standard Parenting Schedules" have been put in place by local family law judges and domestic relations commissioners for years. These standard schedules often reverted to mother being the primary residential parent and father having parenting time one or two nights (often not overnight) each week and alternate weekends. These local rules set the precedence for more permanent Orders which often followed. Of course, with a primary parent also followed child support which is nearly always from the Father to the Mother. The guidelines were first drafted with a presumption of a primary residential parent and was intended to provide a similar standard of living for the child in each household. Currently, each judge has their own way of typically handling child support and offset in a shared parenting situation. Those vary from FULL support in some counties/divisions and with complete offset in others. With shared parenting time being presumed, the legislature would be wise to address how to handle child support in such a situation. If you have a custody or divorce and need advice, contact an experienced family law attorney. For consultation in Campbell, Kenton or Boone counties, call Bouldin Law Firm and schedule a time with Michael Bouldin. Call 859-581-6453 or email [email protected] Call 581-MIKE today.

Child Support Above Ky Guidelines: McCarty v Faried

Attached is a recent case from Bath County, Kentucky about child support and high earning individuals. the case involved a professional athlete, NBA star Kenneth Faried, and the mother of his child, Rebekah McCarty. McCarty v Faried is the case which the trial court ordered monthly support of over $4,000.  The trial court's award was originally overturned by the Court of Appeals, but was again reversed, thereby affirming the trial court order by the Kentucky Supreme Court.  (If you are confused, the Supreme Court upheld the $4,250 monthly child support award). The crux of the case hinged on combined income in excess of the Kentucky child support guidelines.  Because the table ends at $15,000 in combined monthly income, KRS 403.212(5) provides: "The court may use its judicial discretion in determining child support in circumstances where combined adjusted parental gross income exceeds the uppermost levels of the guideline table." SUMMARY: Mother and Father were not married when Mother gave birth to their daughter in 2010. In 2012, Mother filed a motion for child support.  At trial in 2013 the trial court established joint custody and directed Father to pay $4,250 a month in child support. The order made the monthly amount retroactive to 2012 and calculated back child support to be $24,100. The Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the trial court's award of child support, concluding that the trial court abused its discretion by not basing its award on the child's reasonable needs as set out in the court's "specific supporting findings" and that some of Mother's requests for support were speculative. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the circuit court's orders, holding (1) the Court of Appeals imposed an overly burdensome standard; (2) child support in the amount of $4,250 is reasonable and in the child's best interest; and (3) the trial court did not err in making the order retroactive.

How to Impute Income

 KRS 403.212 provides for child support and determining income for purposes of calculating child support as well as using the child support guidelines. 403.212 (a) Defines income:  "Income" means actual gross income of the parent if employed to full capacity or potential income if unemployed or underemployed.  If a litigant is determined to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, then the court must impute income to determine earning capacity. This can be done in a number of ways.  The easiest is the person underemployed that has a job working part time.  The court will routinely take the hourly wage and impute to that person a 40 hour work week instead of the shorter (15-20-24-32 hours/week) number of hours actually worked. 403.212 subsection (d) provides:  If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, child support shall be calculated based on a determination of potential income, except that a determination of potential income shall not be made for a parent who is physically or mentally incapacitated or is caring for a very young child, age three (3) or younger, for whom the parents owe a joint legal responsibility. Potential income shall be determined based upon employment potential and probable earnings level based on the obligor's or obligee's recent work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing job opportunities and earnings levels in the community. A court may find a parent to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed without finding that the parent intended to avoid or reduce the child support obligation. Imputed is included in 403.12(e) "Imputed child support obligation" means the amount of child support the parent would be required to pay from application of the child support guidelines. This can be done with or without expert witness testimony.  While expert witness testimony is preferred, it is often financially irresponsible to hire an expert to help to impute income to one of the parties. If you have questions about child support or employment and imputation of income, contact your attorney.  For consultation and representation in Northern Kentucky for divorce, custody or support, contact the Bouldin Law Firm at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected].

What Does Child Support Cover?

What is Child Support Suppose to Cover? The question often arises as to the purpose and uses of child support.  First, child support generally does not cover uncovered medical, dental and orthodontic expenses and agreed upon extracurricular activities including sports and summer camps.  These expenses are generally divided pursuant to the percentage of combined income used to calculate child support. Child support is generally paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.  This presumes that the custodial parent incurs the majority of costs associated with raising the child(ren).  Those regular and routine costs include:

How Do I Calculate Income for Business Owner?

When dealing with business owners in a divorce, it is important to understand income, cash flow, salary, taxes and business.  Having practice domestic law for over 20 years, and having a degree in business economics, I have a unique perspective and experience in handling these issues in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.   Following are a few examples: 1. There are a number of legitimate tax deductions which should be included when calculating total income for spousal or child support purposes.  For example, a business owner can generally deduct all or a portion of the expense for his business vehicle.  This will allow the net income to be less than the gross income.  That vehicle expense, however, is included into the calculation for total gross income when calculating child support. 2. Business amortization.  This is not a real expense.  There is no money/cash paid in order to amortize an asset.  If a business depreciates a building or computer over time, it is a tax savings and devalues the asset, however the business does not have an actual expense to pay.  As such, even though it is deductible from the gross income, it is included when calculating an owner's income for all divorce purposes. 3. Gross sales v. net income.  These can be very confusing and often a spouse of a business owner will become enthralled with the gross sales or gross income.  For a one person company, this may be very relevant, but for a larger company, gross sales or gross income may have no relationship to the owner's actual income.  For example, if a small computer company has 4 employees and has gross sales of $1MM.  This company might have $500,000 in the cost of goods sold, translating to gross income of only $500,000.  If each of the employees makes $100,000, then there is only $100,000 left over for the owner, before expenses.  An owner of this fictional company may make significantly less than his employees after normal operating expenses are deducted. As you can see from these examples, calculating the income for a business owner may be very complicated.  The bigger the company, the more tax deductions, and the more business write-offs all affect how the income is calculated.  Additionally, income may be calculated at one level for tax purposes, a different amount for purposes of calculating child support and another amount for purposes of calculating spousal support.  It is important to understand the difference and how to best represent the client. For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Bouldin Law Firm at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email at [email protected].  

Dude, What's Up With Your Website/Blog?

For those of you who regularly follow my blog postings, you may have noticed that it has been nearly a month since my last Northern Kentucky divorce law blog.  If you looked for the site, you were probably looking at a blank screen or a redirection page. Unfortunately, it seems that the server which hosted my website (1) crashed; (2) deleted or lost my site; (3) fell off the internet; or (4) cannot be explained.  As a site owner, the reason was not relevant, however the resulting complete lack of any site or explanation was very frustrating. Now that we are up and running again, I will try to update the site with current and relevant information concerning divorce law, custody, support and issues surrounding northern Kentucky family courts.  If you have seen past posts, you will understand that I do not have any preformatted method of posting; I do not have any ghost writers for my site; I do not cut and past posts from other attorney web blogs and do not have other attorneys write unless they ask and are given credit. If you are an attorney and wish to submit a blog, you may contact me directly.  I have some friends in the legal community whom I greatly respect and believe that their contributions would be worthy and helpful. This morning I helped a couple finalize an adoption.  In this world of family law, adoption is the one truly happy time in court when a family can realize their dreams.  I view adoption as the truly very specific time that children's best interests are fully met through the court systems.  It is a great way to begin a week as a practitioner of family law. If you have family law questions, wish to speak with an attorney or have a question or idea for a blog, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call the office at 859-581-6453.

Is Divorce for Wealthy More Expensive?

There is no real reason that a divorce involving a wealthy person should be more expensive than that of an average or poor person... but it usually is. Isn't the division of assets simple?  In general, all assets acquired during the marriage are presumed to be marital and are equally divided between the parties.  That said, there are a number of reasons that dissolution of high net worth clients is generally more expensive. 1. Complexity of Holdings.  Division of assets can be fairly straightforward the nature of he holdings may be complex.  For example, ERISA may guide division of qualified retirement plans.  Many pensions are only divisible in certain ways.  Offshore accounts, 403b plans, SEP accounts all differ in their divisibility and many require specialists to prepare QDROs. 2. Non-Marital Interests.  Many times there are family trusts, family corporations or LLCs, and other pre-marital or non-marital assets are involved.  If a trust or inheritance comes in during the marriage, or increases in value during the marriage, the non-marital interest may change and there may be a marital component. 3. Division of Assets and Offsetting.  Division of assets is seldom straightforward.  If you have equity in a home,  investments, retirement, pension, investment property, vacation homes, boats, cars and planes each of these have a fair market value.  It seldom makes sense to sell everything and divide, as many of the assets would not yield value and others would want to be retained.  A straight line offset may or may not make sense, especially depending on the liquidity and tax consequence of ownership/liquidation. 4. Spousal Support/Maintenance.  This is one of the most often litigated issues in a divorce with wealthy clientele.  Often one party has significantly more income earning ability and/or more non-marital assets.  Any time that the relative incomes vary widely, there is potential for maintenance.  Kentucky has no simply formula for determining either the amount or length of spousal support.  Income, length of marriage, reasonable living expenses are the most common questions to initially determine spousal support.  Many other factors, including fault, may play into a spousal support award. 5. Expectations.  Often times wealthy and busy clients demand and have expectations of their attorney: (a)  Prompt communication, often demanding personalized attention and faster than usual access/turn around; (b) Immediate access to counsel and answers to questions; (c) Specific times for meetings, conferences and mediation; and (d) Consideration of schedules and changes for primary earner.  This type of service generally comes with additional cost.  Attorneys bill for their time and the more time spent translates into greater legal fees.  It is important to establish realistic expectations when you first consult with counsel. When you meet with an attorney, explain any unique issues and discuss expectations of both the client and the lawyer.  Often high asset cases turn into high-conflict cases.  This is not always and need not be the case.  Often the collaborative law is an alternative to avoid high level of conflict.   An attorney experienced in handling high asset divorces can best advise those clients heading toward divorce/dissolution. It is important to speak early with an attorney to best protect your assets and your legal rights.  If you have questions in Northern Kentucky, contact Bouldin Law Firm and schedule to speak with Michael Bouldin by contacting [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

Divorce in Kenton County

I often get questions about divorce in Kenton County, Kentucky.  The laws throughout the state are identical, however their application may vary from county to county as well as from judge to judge.  In Kenton county, the current family court judges are Christopher Mehling and Lisa Osborne Bushelman.  Both current judges are facing competition in the upcoming election in November.  That said, I will concentrate on the current judges and not any candidates. If you have a case in front of Judge Mehling in Kenton County which involves children, you should expect that the party with more income will pay child support to the party with less income, regardless of the parenting allocation.  This may be ordered even in the case where the parties seemingly have an agreement regarding child support.  Careful drafting of an Agreement may allow Judge Mehling to deviate in specific cases where he believes and agrees that a deviation is warranted.  Judge Bushelman makes a case-by-case analysis and may issue a "no child support" decision, an offset or deviation of child support, or may grant full child support from one to the other parent if that parent pays all of the children's expenses. Child custody also differs from court to court and county to county.  Traditionally smaller and more rural counties grant mothers custody and visitation to fathers while more modern and larger counties often grant joint legal custody and shared parenting time.  Also, in matters of spousal support, known in Kentucky as maintenance, it is rare that spousal support is granted in poorer counties.   Spousal support is more common in larger counties with more wealthy residents. You must know the judge in order to be successful in a family court case.  Having an attorney with intimate knowledge of the legal system and the judges deciding your case is essential.  For counsel in Kenton, Boone and Campbell counties, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected].

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