Kentucky Above the Guidelines Child Support

Earlier today, the Kentucky Supreme Court heard Oral Arguments on the issue of child support when Monthly Parental Earnings exceed $15,000.  In the case, the Father is an NBA standout whose rookie contract was for $1,400,000.00.  This year, he will earn in excess of $11,000,000.00.  The Trial Judge set monthly support at $4,250.  The Court of Appeals overruled the Trial Court, evidently finding that support was too high under the circumstances.

The Kentucky Child Support Guidelines apply to cases where the Combined Gross Monthly Parental Income is $15,000 or less.  Once Income exceeds $15,000 per month, the Court may set child support in an amount related to the reasonable and realistic needs of the child or children, but the amount must be supported by the factual findings made by the Court.  In Downing, the Court of Appeals held that child support above the guidelines must be based primarily on 1) the child’s needs; 2) the standard of  living (which may be flexible and varied) which the children enjoyed; 3) the parents’ financial ability and circumstances; 4) the “station in life”, age and physical condition of the parents; and 5) the expense of educating the child or children.

Some examples of acceptable support have been as follows:

  1. In Ciampa v. Ciampa, a Court of Appeals case in which the Father earned $817,673 per year and the Mother earned $52,404, Child Support in the amount of $5,800 per month was acceptable.
  2. In Ali v. Saed, a Court of Appeals case in which the Father earned $385,000 per year and the Mother received spousal support of $5,000 per month, Child Support in the amount of $3,500 was acceptable.

In Downing, the Court of Appeals rejected Child Support in the amount of $3,475 per month where the Father earned $57,000 per month and the Mother earned $1,500 per month.  However, the grounds for the rejection was to the manner of calculation.  It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court handles this issue.