By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — A bill that would overhaul the state’s child support payment guidelines to more accurately reflect modern costs is heading to the full House for a vote.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to pass House Bill 169, which would update guidelines that have not seen major changes since 1987.
In Kentucky, child support payments are based on the number of children and the total family income. The payment guidelines also factor in the spending patterns of an average family, but those figures are based on decades-old information that doesn’t account for modern amenities such as cell phones and laptop computers. The legislation would provide more timely data on spending patterns of parents.
The proposed legislation also would address the state’s changing custody patterns. Kentucky child-support laws do not account for the increasing number of children who are dividing their time equally or almost equally between their parents, said Fayette Family Court Judge Lucinda Masterton, who testified before the committee.
The proposed legislation says the court may adjust child support payments if there is a shared parenting order that grants one parent physical custody of a child for more than 109 days a year.
A similar proposal, Senate Bill 87, has been filed in the Senate.