The parents of a child may split up for various reasons. Often, when this happens, one parent is left with the burden of raising and caring for the child. This is often a very difficult feat as the income of just one parent may not be sufficient to meet all the needs of the child. For this reason, laws have been established to set up and enforce child support so that the child can have a decent life. Child support refers to regular payments made by a noncustodial parent of a child to the person with custody, for the care of the child.
Child Support Process
Child support services in Kentucky are available to anyone who has physical custody of a child and requires assistance in establishing the child’s paternity. This means that relatives or foster parents can apply for support so long as they have custody of the child. However, in most cases, the child is in the custody of one of the parents. Child support can be requested once the parents are separated, even if there has been no filing for divorce.
Custodial parents who wish to apply for child support can do so on the Kentucky Child Support Interactive website http://chfs.ky.gov/dis/cse.htm. An application fee of $35 is required for child support cases if the custodial parent filing the application has never received cash assistance. For convenience, this fee is only deducted after the child support payments received by the custodial parent have exceeded $550.
The time taken to establish a child support case varies and is highly dependent on how well the custodial parent complies and provides information on the noncustodial parent. Details like home address, employer’s details, social security number, etc. of the noncustodial parent may help speed up the process. This is because the noncustodial parent must first be located and notified before the case can progress.
The paternity of the child can be established through Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, or by court interference. Parents can voluntarily sign and acknowledge that the child is indeed theirs. If there is a dispute on paternity, the court will get involved and order that genetic testing be carried out. Once the test results identify the father of the child, the court will enter an order of paternity. A default judgment may also be given if the alleged father fails to respond to a paternity action notice within 20 days.
When the child’s paternity is fully established, the court then enters into proceedings to decide the amount to be awarded as child support. To aid this process, the income of both parents, their financial obligations, contributions to the child’s welfare (e.g., insurance) cover, etc. are taken into account. Afterward, the court orders a reasonable amount to be paid monthly to the custodial parent by the noncustodial parent. For additional information, visit https://csws.chfs.ky.gov/csws/General/Faq.aspx#FAQApplyForChildSupportServices.
How Do You Receive Child Support?
Custodial parents receiving child support in Kentucky can choose to receive the funds via direct deposits to their bank accounts or by a special prepaid debit card. Parents who wish to receive their child support payments into their accounts can visit http://chfs.ky.gov/dis/cse.htm to fill and Authorization for Electronic Deposit of Child Support Payments form and submit the form to the address listed on it.
Parents who receive their payments on the prepaid debit card will have the funds preloaded into the card for use at various purchase points and ATMs. Child support payments are usually disbursed within 2 business days of being received from the noncustodial parent. Those who wish to be notified when their payment has been received can visit https://csws.chfs.ky.gov/csws/Help/Taking%20Control%20of%20Your%20Child%20Support%20Case%20(english%20version).docx to see how to set up the notifications.
Amount Receivable as Child Support
The amount of money to be paid on child support orders is determined using established guidelines. Both parents are expected to bear some of the costs of raising the child. The considerations for establishing the order include the income of both parents, already existing child support obligation (if any) of the parents, the number of children, the cost of medical coverage and who bears that cost, special needs of the child, etc. The state also maintains a child support estimator at https://csws.chfs.ky.gov/csws/General/EstimateDisclaimer.aspx It should be noted, however, that the exact amount awarded as child support may vary from the estimate. The court has final authority over what should be paid.
Custodial parents may also apply for a review of the child support order if there has been a significant change in the income levels of the noncustodial parent, or the needs of the child. For more details on this, see https://csws.chfs.ky.gov/csws/General/Faq.aspx#FAQEstablishingChildSupport.
Enforcement of Child Support
Parents who owe or refuse to pay their child support obligations may have several actions taken against them to enforce payment and compliance. A common action is income withholding. This is the deduction of current and past-due child support payments from the wages of the noncustodial parent. Deductions can be made from salaries, unemployment compensation, veteran’s retirement benefits, etc. However, public assistance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are exempt from these deductions. Lottery winnings, tax refunds, and insurance settlements may also be intercepted to pay for child support. Other actions include passport denial, placing liens on property, deducting from or freezing bank accounts, suspension or denial of various professional and recreational licenses, and even court action with potential jail time. Additional details on the enforcement of child support can be found at https://csws.chfs.ky.gov/csws/General/Faq.aspx#FAQEnforcingChildSupport.