Kentucky Child Support Guidelines

Kentucky Child Support Guidelines

Parental Status

The Kentucky child support program refers to a parent who does not have physical custody of a child or children as a non-custodial parent (NCP). A non-custodial parent is usually required to provide financial support for their children for it.

The Kentucky program refers to a parent who has custody of the child as the custodial parent (CP). Typically, this is a parent but could also be a relative or other caretaker of the children.  A custodial parent is the one that receives the financial and medical support for the children.


Anyone who has physical custody of a child and needs help establishing the identity of the father of the child, establishing a child support order or collection of current or past-due child support is eligible to receive child support services. This includes a parent who is separated from his or her spouse even if no divorce action has been filed. A man who believes he is the biological father of the child born out of wedlock may also apply for services.

An application for child support services is required. The application can be obtained from the local Kentucky child support office, or online. Once an application has been completed, it has to be hand-delivered or mailed into the local Kentucky Office. Processing time depends upon the unique circumstances of each case. Providing complete information to the agency helps in obtaining a timely child support order. Factors contributing to the complexity of the case can include:

–       Difficulty locating a non-custodial parent;

–       Paternity establishment;

–       Multiple potential fathers; and

–       Or non-custodial parents living in another state or country.

Health Insurance
Health insurance must be included in any child support order.  The court will order the insurance to be provided when available.  This applies to all cases. The court can order either parent, or both, to provide Healthcare insurance.

Establishing Paternity

Paternity is the legal establishment of a child’s biological father. Paternity can be established by voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or through court. A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form can be completed at the time of the child’s birth, or at a later date through the health department or local Kentucky child support office.  This form should only be completed if genetic testing is not needed. Genetic tests require a DNA sample from the mother, alleged father, and the child. If paternity is not contested, an agreed order can be signed by the parties and entered by the court.

Disputed Paternity

If and when paternity is disputed and genetic testing is requested, it can be ordered by the court. If the genetic testing proves the alleged father is the biological father of the child, the court will ensure an order of paternity. The court may also enter a default judgment of paternity of the child when the alleged father is served with a paternity action and has failed to timely respond.

Determination of Child Support

All Kentucky child support orders are calculated using the Kentucky Guidelines, which are based on the principle that both parents are financially responsible for the support of their children. Child support orders end when the child turns 18.

Modifying Child Support

New order to modify a child support order, a written request for review must be submitted to the local Kentucky Office. Additional information may be required such as W2s, tax returns, and pay stubs. Child care expenses and Health Insurance costs may also be required. There must be a substantial and continuing change in the financial circumstances, in order to request a modification.  The information provided may result in either in increase or decrease of child support, accordingly.

Child Support Enforcement

Kentucky uses several enforcement remedies to collect child support. The type of action chosen depends upon the circumstances of the case. Some of the remedies used to enforce the child support order are:

–       Court action resulting in jail time

–       Interception of the tax fund

–       Passport denial

–       Liens

–       Revocation of licenses

–       Levying financial bank accounts

–       Withholding unemployment benefits

Enforcement begins when the non-custodial parent falls behind by an amount equal to one month’s obligation.  If the non-custodial parent is receiving unemployment benefits, up to 50% of any unemployment check can be withheld.

Child support enforcement may also deny, suspend, or revoke a driver’s license or certificates if the non-custodial parent owes more than six months of arrears in child support.  All past due support must be paid in full, or a payment agreement must be reached, in order to reinstate any license or certificates.

Kentucky Uses Tax Interception

Kentucky also uses tax interception of Federal and/or state tax refund of non-custodial parents fall past due in child support.  For Federal tax interception, the non-custodial parent must owe at least $500 in arrears. For state tax interception, the non-custodial parent must owe at least $150 in arrears. Custodial parents cannot receive tax intercept payments unless the non-custodial parent has filed taxes and is eligible for tax refund.



Note:  The foregoing information is provided as general child support law guidelines in the state of Kentucky and should not be considered as legal advice specific to your case.  After reviewing the above material, you will be presented with the opportunity to submit more details specific to your case directly to About The Children.

Submitted by Linda O’Marie, Paralegal

Call (800) 787-4981

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Posted in Kentucky Guidelines

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