People often go into divorce proceedings in Covington with a "go for broke" attitude, thinking that a way to exact punishment on their ex-spouses is to attempt to collect an inordinate amount of support from them. They might believe that the amount the court will oblige their ex-spouses to pay in areas such as child support is left up to them. In reality, every cent of the $33.7 billion that the U.S. Census Bureau reported as being owed in 2015 was determined by state courts (completely independent of the motives and feelings of the parties involved).
Kentucky has established its own guidelines for determining child support obligations. Per Section 403.212 of the state's Revised Statutes, child support is determined based off the parents' combined gross income. This includes:
- Salaries, wages, sales commissions and bonuses
- Income from retirement and pension funds
- Severance pay and unemployment benefits
- Social Security Disability and workers' compensation benefits
- Income generated through investment accounts and real estate holdings
- Gifts, prizes, and alimony or maintenance payments
The court also considers if one or both parents are intentionally unemployed or underemployed. If so, it computes a child support obligation off their potential monthly income.
Once gross monthly income has been determined, the court then deducts certain allowable living expenses to come up with a divorced couple's disposable income. That amount is then compared to a predetermined fee schedule, which considers both income and the number of children a couple shares. A fee schedule amount is matched to the parents' financial profile, and that amount becomes the child support obligation. Each parent then owes a portion of that obligation equal to his or her individual contribution to the families combined gross income.