Instructions for Calculating Child Support

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NOTE: These instructions are ONLY for couples who live in Louisville-Jefferson County. These instructions are part of the Self-Help Divorce series.

Kentucky law establishes guidelines for calculating child support, based on the parents' income and the number of minor children of the marriage. Each parent is expected to contribute a share of the cost of raising the children, including the cost of child care and health insurance, in proportion to his or her share of the parents' combined income. Use form CS-71 as a worksheet (CS-71.1 if only the non-custodial parent has income) and the accompanying table to calculate support. This is the amount the non-custodial parent will be presumed to owe to the custodial parent each month. These forms are available from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services web site at http://chfs.ky.gov/dis/cse.htm. If you have difficulty completing this worksheet on your own, you should contact the Office of Jefferson County Attorney, Child Support Division at 574-8300.

  1. Enter each parent's monthly gross income on line 1. The custodial parent (CP) is the parent with whom the child normally lives. The other parent is the non-custodial parent (NCP). See notes below under "Income."

  2. Enter any deductions for maintenance (on line 2) or child support (line 3) obligations that either spouse already has for prior born children. Count only those amounts the parent is actually paying. If a parent is raising a prior born child in his/her household, that parent is entitled to deduct the amount he/she would pay as child support for that child. (If you are using form CS-71.1 and the non-custodial is paying a health insurance premium for the child(ren), deduct that amount also from that parent's income). See notes below under "Deductions from Income."

  3. After subtracting any deductions, enter the adjusted monthly income for each parent on line 4 and their combined adjusted income on line 5.

  4. Calculate each parent's share (expressed as a percentage) of the combined income--divide each parent's adjusted income by the combined income and multiply by 100-and enter the percentages on line 6.

  5. Use the table to look up the base monthly support amount, depending on the combined income (from line 5) and the number of children. Enter that amount on line 7.

  6. Add to the base support amount the monthly cost of child care paid to enable a parent to work and the monthly cost of maintaining health insurance on the child(ren). (If you are using form CS 71.1, the cost of health insurance will already have been taken into account). The total of the base support amount and the costs of child care and health insurance represent the presumed support amount. Enter the sum on line 10.

  7. Multiply the total support obligation (from line 10) by each parent's percentage of the combined income (from line 6). Enter each parent's monthly obligation on line 11.

  8. Enter on line 12 any amounts the non-custodial parent is already paying for child care or health insurance on the child(ren). Subtract that amount and enter on line 13 the monthly amount the non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent. To calculate a weekly amount, multiply line 13 by 12 and divide by 52.

Income:

  1. "Income" means earned and unearned money, not including welfare benefits such as KTAP or food stamps. Otherwise, count all income (before deductions), including wages, profits, dividends, Social Security retirement or disability payments, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, pensions, SSI, and any maintenance (alimony) received.

  2. If a parent is unemployed or underemployed (unless the parent is disabled or caring for a child aged 3 or younger that is the child of the parties), child support is based on what that parent could be earning if working or working full-time.

  3. Attach pay stubs, W-2s, or benefit statements to document the income of each parent.

  4. To calculate monthly income, multiply weekly income by 52 and divide by twelve; or bi-weekly income multiply by 26 and divide by twelve; or twice a month income, multiply by two.

**If one spouse is self-employed or unemployed, you may want to consult an attorney.

Deductions from Income:

Court-ordered maintenance being paid either to a former spouse or the spouse in the current proceeding is entered on line 2 and deducted from the obligor's income amount for purposes of calculating child support. Also deducted is court-ordered child support being paid for a prior-born child or children. Child support being paid to a prior-born child or children for whom the parent is legally responsible is deducted even if it has not actually been court ordered. If the prior-born child lives with the parent, a deduction is allowed for the support of that child that would result from applying the support guidelines.

Split Custody:

Where residential custody is divided between the parents (each having one or more of the children), complete two worksheets-one for the child(ren) of the marriage in the one household, another for the child(ren) of the marriage in the other household. The parent with the greater support obligation will pay the difference between the two support obligations.

Deviation from the Guidelines:

You may ask the judge to order a different amount of support than the guidelines would dictate, or even no support at all, if circumstances would make it unjust or inappropriate to apply the guidelines in a particular case. If you think you have circumstances that would justify a different amount, you should contact an attorney.

Date Reviewed: 
Friday, November 22, 2013