Kentucky’s 2018 shared parenting law put child support reform in the spotlight. Another bipartisan bill from 2021 is bringing changes to the child support system in the state. The changes start on March 1, 2022, and Kentucky now has a child support law ranking of A-. The increase in child support amounts was the first in 15 years.
The removal of the 1.5 multiplier
Before the new law, combining both parents’ obligations formed a shared parenting situation. The law multiplied the combined amount by 1.5 before subtracting the smaller parent’s amount. The money parents were negotiating was artificially inflated by the 1.5 multipliers. Under new family law in the child support reform, it removes the penalty.
Factoring in shared parenting
The law didn’t factor overnight stays into the parent’s obligation calculations before the new bill. A judge would decide any deviations from the norm while co-parenting. An overnight stay now factors in childcare for the day that the child was sleeping at the parent’s residence. The child support payer will get credit for the overnight stays.
The self-support reserve
A self-support reserve is a minimum income that the payer parent needs before being required to pay child support. Kentucky never had a self-support reserve before, but the amount varies on the number of children. Nationwide, 70% of parents who don’t pay their child support make less than $10,000 annually. Under the current system, parents who can’t afford child support end up deeper in debt through fees. A parent in jail for nonsupport can’t work to pay their debts either. The federal government increased the felony amount owed from $1,000 to $5,000.
The court’s rules help impute income to either parent if one is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed. Courts can look into earning history, personal assets, education, health and more of the paying parent. The yearly extraordinary medical expense is now $250, which is $150 higher to reduce arguing about small medical bills.