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There’s a long list of things to take care of during and after a divorce. But at the top of that list is the wellbeing of any minor or dependent children.

Child support refers to payments made by one parent to another parent to pay to support minor children of that marriage. These payments cover a variety of things needed to support the child.

But how is child support calculated? And how much can you expect to pay or to receive after the divorce?

Read below for answers to all your child support calculation questions.

Who Gets Child Support?

During a divorce and/or child custody process, parents will also discuss child support. A child support lawyer or divorce lawyer may help parents reach an agreement and create a legally binding document with the details. 

The parent that is granted primary custody of the child is known as the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent traditionally pays child support to the custodial parent. However, in Kentucky, joint custody is extremely common and has become the norm and default. In a custodial/non-custodial arrangement, such arrangement presumes the custodial parent is spending more time with the child, therefore, is paying for more of their day-to-day needs. This is often not the case in a joint custody situation. Even in joint custody situations one parent often pays support to the other due to an income disparity, health insurance costs, and/or childcare costs. 

How is Child Support Amount Decided?

The process of deciding child support payments is different depending on the state you live in. Child support in KY is similar to other states because the amount is usually decided based on one primary factor – income. Time spent with the child can also be a crucial factor, but this is very case and fact-specific, and also very specific to local judge discretion. 

The court will help determine the appropriate amount of child support based on the total amount of money each parent makes. If only one parent is working, that will also be taken into account.

Child Support Calculator

The best way to calculate anticipated child support in your state is to talk to a child support lawyer. But generally speaking, the child support calculation is based on a percentage of the parents’ combined income.

The formula is: (Combined Parental Income) x (Percentage Child Support) = Child Support Payment.

For example, if the combined income for the parents was $100,000 and they have one child, the percentage for child support is about 11%. Therefore, the child support obligation would be $933.00 per month, but this is then allocated to the parents based upon their income percentages. The number can further be complicated by health insurance costs, childcare costs, and allocation of parenting time. This is known as the “income shares” model which is used in Kentucky.

The exact percentages further vary based on the number of children involved.

The Importance of Child Support

Refusing or not being able to pay child support is a serious legal issue that can result in fines or even jail time depending on the state. The amount of child support may change if a parent’s income changes dramatically. Child support no longer has to be paid once the child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later (unless the parties have agreed to extend support further or there are extraordinary circumstances such as unusual medical needs or other unique circumstances)  (

The best thing you can do when handling a child support agreement is to get reliable legal representation.

If you’re ready to speak to a lawyer today, schedule a consultation and see how we can help you.


Maria Ante

I am a practicing attorney, licensed in KY and OH. I'm a solo practicing attorney, with a general practice and focus on small business law, family law/domestic relations, criminal defense, estate planning, and personal injury. I currently live in Hebron, KY with my husband, Tim, our son, Beau, our daughter, Rory, and our two Siberian Huskies, Truman and Sprocket. Reading and exercising are my passions. I love running and basketball, I practice yoga, and I enjoy many other fun physical activities!

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